Next 14th July the southernmost region of Chile, Magallanes and (Chilean) Antarctica, will inaugurate its first democratically elected governor in 178 years. This is the result of the sweeping reforms the Chilean electorate voted on Sunday, particularly for members of a constitutional assembly which will have the task of drafting a new constitution to replace the one inherited from dictator General Augusto Pinochet from 1980.
The weekend event also included long delayed elections of mayors and councilors of 346 urban areas and the governors of the 16 regions in to which Chile is politically divided. Until now it was the central government in Santiago who named the Mayors.
Jorge Mauricio Flies Añon, 52 is a surgeon who was born and educated in Santiago, and in 1999 arrived in Punta Arenas as Chief Medical Officer, named by then Socialist president Ricardo Lagos. From 2014 to 2018 he was Mayor (Governor) of Magallanes and Antarctica, during the second government of president Michelle Bachelet.
Flies was elected with 42% of the vote running as an independent, under the banner of Constitutional Unit, which is in reality a coalition of left wing parties (Socialists, Christina Democrats, Social Democrats, Communists, etc.). He is entitled to a four year mandate and an only re-election. Currently Flies works at the Magallanes Clinic Hospital and teaches at the Medicine School. He is married to a fellow doctor and has four daughters.
The incoming governor said his priorities are the sanitary urgency to help contain and control the pandemic, ...but I will not wait for instructions from Santiago, I will take all the necessary measures, and as a doctor I have ample experience, and we are going to do it directly with the people...
Getting the economy on its feet again is the other priority for the first months of my government as well as helping the people from the different towns who are going through a rough situation.
Magallanes is one of Chile's regions with the highest incidence of Covid 19, (49,9 per 100,000 inhabitants), according to the country's health authorities. Magallanes currently reports 26,643 cases, almost 17% of the population, 627 active cases and 383 deaths.