Independent Candidates Emerge Big Winners In Chile Vote

chile-elections
Polls closed in Chile Sunday after two days of voting for a body of 155 people that will rewrite the country's dictatorship-era constitution many blame for deep societal inequalities. (Photo by RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP via Getty Images)

By Aislinn Laing, Fabian Cambero and Dave Sherwood

SANTIAGO, Chile, Mon. May 17, 2021 (Reuters) – Chile’s center-right ruling coalition has secured 21% of votes for its list of new constitution delegates with 59% of votes counted, according to the electoral authority Servel, suggesting President Sebastian Pinera’s government will struggle to secure 1/3 of seats needed to block radical changes to the charter.

Independent candidates emerged as the big winners of the weekend vote to pick 155 men and women to rewrite the current charter drafted during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

A projection of seats allocated according to vote percentage conducted by CNN’s local channel in Chile suggested candidates backed by Chile Vamos would secure 38, the centre-left 24, the far-left 30 and independent candidates 45.

Heraldo Munoz, president of Chile’s centre-left Party for Democracy, said the favoring of candidates without political ties was clear. “The strength of the independents is emerging prominently,” he said. “We had a sense this was happening and it is a rejection, a lesson to the political class.”

(Reporting by Aislinn Laing, Fabian Cambero, Dave Sherwood; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Diane Craft)