A total of 14,900,089 citizens were registered to elect for the first time the 16 regional governors, plus 345 mayors, 2,252 councilpeople and the 155 members of the Constitutional Convention that will draft the new Carta Magna.
The Convention’s mission will be drafting a new constitution which should be submitted to a referendum in 2022.
After a long struggle, the current constitution – written in the ’80s under the Pinochet dictatorship and much amended in the years since – will be left aside.
More than 1,300 candidates are competing to become members of the Constitutional Convention. For the first time, this election includes a gender parity requirement – giving women a proportional number of seats, and will include 17 reserved spaces for Indigenous people.
Observers fear people might not vote in large numbers – not only because of the pandemic but because the government has released little information about the entire process.
The Chilean police deployed more than 13,500 officers to guarantee safety during the important elections.
The vote is carried out while the country endures difficult times: a state of emergency, a nightly curfew, more than 10 percent of the working-age population (two and a half million people) unemployed. Besides, a pandemic that has killed nearly 27,000 people.
The elections were originally planned for April but were postponed due to the high number of people with coronavirus infections.