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.
Carolina Toha, who worked as spokeswoman for former president Michelle Bachelet, was elected mayor of the capital, defeating the current incumbent Pablo Zalaquett. However, centre-right candidates held onto several big cities, including Valparaiso. Results suggest centre-left parties took about 43% of the vote, compared with 38% for parties allied to Mr Pinera.