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.”
The center-left DC and center-right RN stunned the Chilean political sphere when they submitted a joint proposal regarding changes to the current binomial system, acknowledging that they had been working in secret for over two months.
The major changes proposed were a semipresidency system in which there would an elected president who would handle matter of the state, such as international relations, and an appointed prime minister who would head the government. Under the current binomial system, which was created under the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990), political parties must form coalitions that then nominate candidates. This allows for parties that have extreme politics to stay in power, even though they do not receive a majority of the votes.