Saturday, December 10, 2005

The elections

Okay, I have received three requests for information about the elections here in Chile. I am not sure where to start since there are so many things I could say about them. First let me explain something about Chile: it is a democracy. And not just that , but you have to vote. If I understood one of my friends correctly, you have to vote, even if you don´t actually vote for anyone, you have to go stand in line and turn in a ballot. I am not sure how often the elections are, but I think every four years. Right now there are elections for Senators, Diputados, and the President. Don´t ask me what the difference is between diputados and senators. There are three main canidates right now for presidency. There were four, but one fo them is now so far back in the polls that he is not really a threat. The other canidates are Bachelet, Piñera, and Lavin. Bachelet is a woman who I think is socialist. She is from the same party that is in power now and I think she will win. Piñera would be my other choice. He is a rich man who has spent so much of his own money to run his campaign. He is an economist who worked with Pinochet (I think). He seems to have a good head and I think he would be able to really help the Chilean economy. The third guy, Lavin is just scary to me. He is VERY right (from the right side) and in my very Gringo opinion, he is too tied to the church (Catholic church). On the news it will show him taking comunion, yada, yada, yada. Anyways those are the three candidates for presidency. All the senators and diputados have teamed up with the candidates for presidency and have shared bilboards showing them shaking hands, or giving each other thumbs up, or whatever. So even though there is no vice president, every presient has a list of other people running that they endorse.
It is interesting to live in a country that is so newly democratized (you like that word?). The decisions that the president will make are important. For example, divorce just became legal under the last president (last year). Also, the amount of propaganda for each candidate is amazing, I will try to take a pic before it all comes down, but literlly, every tree has a life size poster hung on it of a candiate, and on every sidewalk there are literally hundreds of people handing out flyers for the candiates, people standing in front of the cars waiting for a gree light and wave HUGE banners in front of them. Trucks drive by withopen backs and banners upon banners of the candidates. It is just craziness here. But controlled craziness. I am not scared of riots or anything like that. The candidates are similar enough that there won´t be a political revolt or overthrow. In any case though, sunday is the big day. If anyone has specific questions about the elections or the candidates feel free to email me at

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