The voter information of more than 14.3 million Chileans, which accounts to nearly 80% of the country’s entire population, was left exposed and leaking on the internet inside an Elasticsearch database. ZDNet learned of the leaky server from a member of the Wizcase research team, who passed the server’s IP to this reporter last week, in order to identify the nature and source of the leak. We found that the database contained names, home addresses, gender, age, and tax ID numbers (RUT, or Rol Único Tributario) for 14,308,151 individuals. ZDNet has confirmed the validity and accuracy of this information with several of the individuals whose data was contained in the leaky database. A spokesperson for Chile’s Electoral Service — Servicio Electoral de Chile (Servel) — also confirmed the data’s authenticity; however, they denied owning the leaky server.
Chileans on Sunday gave former President Sebastián Piñera a new term in office, rejecting his opponent’s call to build on the social and economic changes set in motion by the incumbent, Michelle Bachelet. Mr. Piñera’s victory marks the latest shift to the right in a region that until recently was largely governed by leftist leaders who rose to power promising to build more egalitarian societies. Mr. Piñera vowed on Sunday night to govern for all Chileans. “Chile needs dialogue and collaboration more than confrontation,” he said after a cordial televised meeting with his opponent, Alejandro Guillier.
Chileans vote in an uncertain runoff presidential election on Sunday that will determine if the world’s top copper producer stays on its center-left course or joins a tide of Latin American nations turning to the right in recent years. Billionaire former President Sebastian Pinera, 68, a conservative who was considered the front-runner but earned fewer votes than expected in last month’s first round, faces center-left journalist and senator Alejandro Guillier, 64. Both candidates would keep in place Chile’s longstanding free-market economic model, but Pinera has promised lower taxes to turbocharge growth while Guillier wants the government to press on with outgoing President Michelle Bachelet’s overhaul of education, taxes and labor.
On Sunday, for the seventh time since Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship ended, Chileans went to the polls to elect a president and National Congress. Only 46 percent of those eligible to vote actually did so, one of the lowest turnouts in the country’s history. In the presidential race, no candidate won a full majority, which means there will be a runoff, scheduled for Dec. 17. Although most opinion polls had shown right-wing billionaire and former president Sebastián Piñera with a clear lead of between 42 and 47 percent, the latest results show he received only 36.6 percent of the ballots. The next-place candidate, Sen. Alejandro Guillier, the center-left candidate, received just under 23 percent. Perhaps more significant than the presidential first round was the transformation of Congress. This was the first time Chile has gone to the polls since major electoral reforms. Voters weighed in on all the members of the legislature’s lower house, and almost half the Senate. What were the results?
Billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera held a big lead late Sunday in returns from Chile’s presidential election, buoyed by support from Chileans who hope the former president can resuscitate a flagging economy, though he didn’t get enough votes to avoid a runoff. With just under 92 percent of ballots counted, Pinera had nearly 37 percent of the vote, against almost 23 percent for Sen. Alejandro Guillier, an independent center-left candidate, and 20 percent for Beatriz Sanchez, who ran for the leftist Broad Front coalition. Five other candidates shared the remainder.
The frontrunner for Chile’s presidency, billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera, faces an array of left-wing parties in this year’s elections but he can expect help from one quarter – low turnout. Recent opinion polls give Pinera, a conservative former president, a commanding lead over his seven mostly left-of-center rivals for the Nov. 19 first round but predict he is unlikely to take the more than 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off. While a unified left might muster the votes to defeat Pinera in the second round, weak turnout fed by disenchantment with politics and interparty bickering would pave the way for a Pinera win.
Augusto Pinochet left the scene as Chile’s dictator 25 years ago, but the electoral system he bequeathed has governed politics ever since. Under the country’s unique “binominal” system, each parliamentary constituency has two seats; the winning candidate takes one and in most cases the runner-up takes the other. This has reserved nearly all the seats in parliament for two big coalitions, the centre-left New Majority (to which the president, Michelle Bachelet, belongs) and the centre-right Alliance. The system has brought Chile stability at the expense of diversity. It kept small parties out of parliament unless they joined one of the two big coalitions, and ruled out landslide victories by either side. Moreover, it has tended to over-represent the Alliance at the expense of New Majority. Rural areas, which had supported Pinochet, were given more weight than their populations warranted.
Chile looks set to make major changes to its electoral system so it will better represent voters’ wishes and ensure more women participate in politics, an issue close to the heart of center-left President Michelle Bachelet. After an all-night debate, the Senate on Wednesday morning gave the green light to Bachelet’s electoral reform bill, with the support of two opposition senators. The bill is expected to easily pass in the lower house and then be signed into law. The vote overturns a byzantine electoral system introduced by dictator Augusto Pinochet before he departed from power that has effectively excluded parties that do no belong to one of two leading coalitions and prevented either coalition from winning a significant majority in Congress. Pinochet, who ruled the South American country from 1973-1990, intended to ensure conservative parties retained a strong voice after the return to democracy.
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.
Chile has reformed its constitution to give voting rights to citizens living outside the country. The measure was more than 20 years in the making, and is seen as a major victory for the many Chileans who left the country during its long dictatorship. Tuesday’s Senate approval came after a deal between the center-left ruling coalition and right-wing politicians. The vote was 28-5 in favor with three abstentions. The House of Deputies passed the measure last week.
Michelle Bachelet’s landslide victory was the largest in 80 years and yet, at the same time was the lowest voter turnout since the nation of Chile returned to democracy. According to some political pundits, this suggests that Bachelet will not get a mandate to push for any type of change when she begins her second term in 2014. A moderate advocate of socialist government, Bachelet ended her first term in 2010 with an approval rating of 84 percent in spite of the fact that she was unwilling to enact any type of major change. However, with this victory, political leftists in Chile are expected to hold Bachelet accountable to make good on her promises. Some of these include improving health care, closing the gap between the rich and the poor, and pushing a $15 billion program for the purposes of educational overhaul. Economically, Chile is the pride of Latin America. It is the top exporter of chrome worldwide and boasts a rapidly growing economy, a stable democracy and low unemployment rates. However, in the country itself, there has been much unrest as many have believed that there should be more of the nations wealth used for reform of the educational system and income disparity.
Chile’s once and future leader Michelle Bachelet easily won Sunday’s presidential runoff, returning center-left parties to power by promising profound social changes in response to years of street protests. Bachelet won 62 percent of the vote, the most decisive victory in eight decades of Chilean elections. Her conservative rival, Evelyn Matthei only got 37 percent of the vote and conceded defeat in the worst performance for the right in two decades. Bachelet needs the momentum of her resounding victory to strengthen her mandate and try to overcome congressional opposition to fulfill her promises.
The Chilean government on Monday rejected allegations of irregularity in November 17 general elections, which involved the possible fraudulent registration of supporters for two independent candidates who had lost. “We don’t question the election, because everybody knows there are agencies and time limits for disputing candidacies, and that did not happen in the case of the two said candidates,” said government spokeswoman Cecilia Perez. The election results “cannot be challenged, there are no reasons to do so,” Perez said, adding any complaint should have been presented to the Electoral Tribunal (Tricel) earlier. A press report over the weekend questioned whether independent candidates Franco Parisi and Tomas Jocelyn Holt, who obtained 10 percent and 0.16 percent of the votes, respectively, obtained the minimum 35,000 signatures they needed to run.
Michelle Bachelet won nearly twice as many votes as her closest rival in Chile’s presidential election Sunday, but she fell short of the outright majority needed to avoid a Dec. 15 runoff. With more than 92% of votes counted, the moderate socialist Bachelet had nearly 47%, to 25% for conservative Evelyn Matthei. Seven other candidates trailed far behind. Bachelet predicted she would win big in the second round and push forward major social reforms. “We’re going to have a decisive and strong victory that backs up the transformation program that we have been building,” she said. Matthei’s campaign celebrated getting another try at Bachelet, this time in a one-on-one race. “Going into a second round is certainly a triumph,” an exultant Matthei told supporters.
Chile goes to the polls on Nov. 17. The biggest question regarding the presidential contest is not who will win, but when. Michele Bachelet, who served a prior term as president from 2006-2010, has a wide lead in the polls. Chile’s electoral rules require a candidate to win more than 50 percent of the vote to secure the presidency in the first round. Bachelet’s supporters would greet a first-round win as a strong mandate for decisive moves to make the tax code more progressive and overhaul the education system. If Bachelet falls short of a majority in the first round, she will face off against the second-place candidate in a December runoff. She is expected to prevail against any potential rival, but her adversaries would have the opportunity to coalesce in opposition, cracking her aura of invincibility and slowing the momentum behind progressive redistribution.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera says the decision by many Chileans not to vote in Sunday’s local elections is a “warning sign” that should be heeded. The polls, the first to be held since voting was made voluntary, were marked by an abstention of 60%. The elections are seen as an early indicator with just over a year to go before the November 2013 presidential race. Mr Pinera’s centre-right alliance lost some key races, including in Santiago.
Christian Democrat (DC) Ignacio Walker and National Renewal (RN) partymember Carlos Larraín defended their proposed changes to the binomial system for the first time in front of the Center for Public Studies (CEP) on Wednesday. The main message from the two party leaders was that their proposal was not something concrete, but meant, right now, as a diagnosis of the lack of accurate political representation under the current system. “I think President Sebastián Piñera nonetheless likes some of the things we proposed,” Larraín said, putting to rest rumors that the accord between the DC and RN may have fallen apart since the proposal was submitted. “This reform is a central question in Congress, and we hope our proposal guides the discussion of this important issue.”
Chile’s Constitutional Court (TC) approved a new law that would make voter registration automatic and the act of voting itself voluntary on Thursday. The new law will add between 4.5 and 5 million new members to Chile’s voting population, in time for the October municipal elections. “This is a historic event,” Secretary General Cristián Larroulet told local press. “It is an important step in strengthening our democratic system and facilitating citizen participation in political decisions in our country.” Under Chile’s current system, registering to vote is a voluntary act, and once registered, voting is mandatory. Fines up to US$210 are imposed on those who are registered but don’t vote.
With President Sebastián Piñera’s signature at a ceremony in the Presidential Palace on Monday, Chile joined a community of nations in which all eligible voters are automatically registered to vote.Piñera was joined by young beneficiaries of Chile’s latest voting reform on Monday. Photo by Alex Ibañez/Gobierno de Chile. This reform is the heart of this administration,” Secretary General Cristián Larroulet said while introducing President Piñera. “This is a step in the right direction for Chile, but not yet the answer to all our problems.” The new voting law will make registration automatic and voting itself voluntary. It is projected that over 4.5 million new voters will be added to the nation’s electoral registry, with most of the additions under the age of 30.
The center-left Christian Democrat (DC) party and center-right National Renewal (RN) party presented a proposal on Tuesday that would replace Chile’s controversial binomial electoral system with a proportional system similar to the Electoral College in the United States. DC President Ignacio Walker and Carlos Larraín, of the RN, outlined the proposal called the “New Political Regime in Chile” at the former Congress building in Santiago.
“We want to give the country an offer that would move it toward a new political regime and would significantly increase the inclusion of political parties to better democratize Chile,” Walker told local media.