Chile: Bachelet aims to end dictatorship-era election rules | Associated Press

President Michelle Bachelet is determined to make Chile’s democracy more representative, and for the first time in a quarter century, there may be just enough votes in Congress to achieve it. Bachelet wants to end an electoral system that has squeezed out independent candidates and guaranteed an outsized presence in Congress for the center-right coalition ever since the end of the 17-year dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet in 1990. The system distorts the vote by giving half the seats in each district to the trailing coalition as long as it gets at least a third of the votes. In practice, that has meant many elections are decided behind closed doors, with the center-left and center-right blocs hand-picking candidates to ensure neither side will get its way in Congress. Pinochet also did away with proportional districts, which denied equal representation for people living in Chile’s biggest cities. “Let’s call things what they are: The binomial system is a thorn pounded into the center of our democracy. It’s a system that owes its life to the dictatorship and that has perpetuated itself through exclusion,” Bachelet said Wednesday as she signed the proposal, which now will be debated in Congress.

Full Article: Chile aims to end dictatorship-era election rules - The Denver Post.

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