Chile: Allende’s granddaughter wins her first race

Oct 29, 2012, 5:40 AM

Associated Press

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – Maya Fernandez Allende, the granddaughter of Chile’s fallen socialist President Salvador Allende, won her first major political race on Sunday as leftist parties regained lost ground in municipal elections nationwide.

The election featured millions of citizens voting for the first time after Chile greatly expanded its electorate, although absenteeism was also high.

Fernandez, 41, defeated incumbent Mayor Pedro Sabat of the center-right National Renovation party in Nunoa, a district of the capital. A socialist and veterinarian by trade, she served on the local council in the district after growing up in Cuba, where her mother Beatriz lived in exile after President Allende died during Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 coup.

The left’s biggest victory was in central Santiago, where Carolina Toha defeated Pablo Zalaquett of the ultra-conservative Independent Democratic Union. Toha served as former President Michelle Bachelet’s spokeswoman, and her father, Allende’s vice president, died after being jailed and tortured.

Toha had sided with the students protesting for free, quality education in Chile, while Zalaquett ordered police to crack down on their demonstrations.

“I will be a mayor for all,” Toha said in her victory speech. “Everyone will be listened to; no one will be excluded.”

For many members of Chile’s student protest movement, which burst onto the scene last year with a series of massive demonstrations, this was their first chance to vote.

The left also won in the capital’s upper-class Providencia district, where community leader Josefina Errazuriz ended retired Col. Cristian Labbe’s 16-year-hold on the mayor’s office. Labbe led Pinochet’s domestic intelligence agency during the dictatorship and has tried to bring Pinochet’s disciples back from the political wilderness.

Center-right politicians held onto five other major cities, including Vina del Mar, Valparaiso, La Florida, Las Condes and San Bernardo, but they lost southern Concepcion, where the mayor was sharply criticized for her handling of the earthquake aftermath.

In all, Chileans decided 345 mayor’s offices and 2,224 local council seats nationwide.

With more than 90 percent of the vote counted, the ruling right-wing alliance was winning 37 percent of the seats, while parties of the divided left were winning 43 percent overall.

Former President Ricardo Lagos called Sunday’s election, the first since Chile added five million new voters to the rolls by automatically registering all adults, the end of an era.

By making voter registration automatic, Chile increased its electorate from 8.1 million to 13.4 million in the nation of 17 million. But with voting no longer mandatory, many stayed home, dismaying those who had hoped that so much social upheaval would lead to bigger changes.

The old electorate had moved increasingly to the right as ever-fewer Chileans bothered to register and vote. After Sebastian Pinera’s 2009 presidential win ended 20 years of center-left rule, his center-right alliance agreed to expand the electorate only if the left agreed to make voting optional.

Some analysts say the left’s concessions were a mistake, noting that wealthier people are more likely to vote even when it’s not mandatory. On Sunday night, the turnout appeared to confirm the left’s worst fears: in some districts, absenteeism reached 80 percent.

Pinera called the absenteeism “a warning sign” for Chile’s democracy and pledged that his government will do all it can to increase participation in next November’s presidential elections.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
1 month ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
1 month ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
1 month ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
1 month ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
FILE - McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 km., (47 miles) no...
Associated Press

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald’s is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country’s isolation over its war in Ukraine. The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Chile: Allende’s granddaughter wins her first race