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.
Chile today employs a binomial system that was developed during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990). Under this system, political parties must form coalitions who then put candidates forth. There is no real primary system that allows people to vote for their party’s candidates. Defenders of this system claim that it promotes stability by ensuring two equally powerful political coalitions in Chile. Those opposed think it is a way for parties on the far right to stay in power, even if they receive far from the majority of votes cast.
Changing the binomial system has been high on President Sebastián Piñera’s agenda, and he hopes to have the political landscape changed by the end of 2012. The RN and DC are reported to have been working together for the past two months, attempting to keep the proposal away from media attention before it could be announced. If approved, the parties believe that the institution of a proportional electoral system would alleviate the need to form coalitions and would be able to run candidates as each party sees fit. Another major change suggested by the proposal is moving to a semi-president system that would create a prime minster position.
Full Article: Parties propose changes to Chile’s electoral system.