General Elections in Chile This Weekend

Nov. 15, 2013, 12:12 p.m.

Voters will go to the polls in Chile this weekend to elect a new President, 19 members of the Senate (Senado) and 120 members of the Chamber of Deputies (Camara de Diputados). The President of Chile is elected by absolute majority vote, and if no candidate gains an absolute majority in the first round, a run-off will be held on December 15, 2013. The main candidates in the election are Michelle BACHELET and Evelyn MATTHEI. BACHELET is a member of the Socialist Party of Chile / Partido Socialista de Chile (PS) and will also be supported by the New Majority / Nueva Mayoria coalition in the election. BACHELET previously served as President from 2006 to 2010. MATTHEI is a member of the Independent Democratic Union / Unión Demócratica Independiente (UDI), and will be supported by the Alliance / Alianza coalition. MATTHEI, previously the Minister of Labor and Social Security under President Sebastián PIÑERA, was the second nominee of the UDI, after first choice candidate Pablo LONGUEIRA resigned the nomination in July due to health concerns.

Elections to both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies are done on the basis of closed party-list voting, under a binomial system. Each electoral bloc (coalition or independent party) proposes 2 candidates per district - if the bloc that achieves a plurality obtains more than twice as many votes as the runner-up, it is awarded both seats. Otherwise, 1 seat is awarded to the candidate with the most votes in the most successful bloc, and 1 is awarded to the candidate with the most votes in the runner-up bloc. In the election, 6 electoral blocs and parties will participate.

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