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Votes are being counted amid criticism that Chile lacks transportation

Election in Chile
Photo: EFE / Esteban Garay

Chile’s turnout began this Sunday amid a barrage of criticism against the government for failing to implement a more efficient public transport service, following the closure of more than 2,500 polling stations in Chile.

The first preliminary data is expected from 19:00 (22:00 GMT) local time and the results are expected to be very tight.

Recent polls suggest that young left-wing vice-president Gabriel Boric won by a narrow margin over far-right Jose Antonio Cast, but experts say the outcome largely depends on participation, which will take place in the first round on November 21. Did not reach 50%.

The vote abroad, with no representation, was imposed by the alumni leader in most countries, with the exception of China, where Cast won.

They are the candidates with the most contradictory proposals in the history of Chilean democracy: Borik is provoking fear in the markets because of his alliance with the Communist Party, defending a welfare state with a feminist and ecological accent, while Cast is a staunch Catholic. Maintaining the current neoliberal model, dealing with low taxes and irregular migrations with a tough hand.

“I have come to vote to protect our rights and improve our lives. Today things can start differently,” young Diana Gonzalez told Efe as she left a polling station in the coastal quiz del Mar.

Taxi driver Roberto Paulsen recognized Efe in the La Reina neighborhood of the capital, saying he “voted with his nose stuck” because he did not like any candidate, and that “Chile is not a central country and a serious country.”

Government boycott?

The most important elections since the return to democracy in 1990 were marked by endless complaints from citizens who waited for hours for public buses to arrive at polling stations.

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The situation was particularly critical in the afternoon and on the outskirts of the capital, where mayors took municipal vehicles to pick up residents.

Both candidates criticized the situation, however, and went further from the war order, blaming the conservative government. Sebastian Pinera To “boycott” the election.

“We call on the government to set up taxis, buses and share cars to transport voters in the face of the government’s move to restrict public transport in support of their candidate,” said Iskia Chic, a left-wing campaign manager.

The government acknowledged that there were “congestion episodes” affecting the “fluidity of public transport routes”, but rejected any motive.

“We reject those who try to falsify the size of a cathedral by claiming that something has not been done to get people to vote. We have 75% more buses than on a normal Sunday, ”said government spokesman Jaime Bellolo.

Overcoming the continuing social crisis from the 2019 protests, enforcing the provisions of the new constitution and facing the economic challenges left by the epidemic will be one of the key challenges for the future.

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