Chile's traditional centre-left parties will govern 10 of the country's 16 regions following Sunday's governorship runoff elections in another blow to President Sebastián Piñera Chile Vamos party.
With Sunday's results when only 13 regions remained to be decided via a runoff, 10 regions will be in the hands of the former Concertación, including Santiago, three under independent candidates, two under the newly-formed left-wing Frente Amplio alliance and only one for Piñera's ruling coalition.
Turnout was little over 2.5 million people of the 13 million registered to vote (19.61%) in a country under severe lockdown measures despite arguable the most prolific vaccination campaign in South America.
The great battle was Santiago's Metropolitan Region where Christian Democrat Claudio Orrego became the first elected governor there with 52.7% of the votes, compared to 47.3% of Karina Oliva from Frente Amplio, with 99.97% of the ballots reviewed. During his first speech as governor-elect, Orrego assured assuming this triumph with great humility and a tremendous sense of responsibility, while pointing out that this election shows that good politics can be done and reach the hearts of Chileans.
Raising the Metropolitan Region after the pandemic will be very difficult, with a legacy of pain, unemployment, health and education problems, Orrego said. The new metropolitan governor sent a conciliatory message, inviting those who did not support his project to join in to achieve his goal of urban and territorial justice for the entire region.
The only region Piñera's allies won was Araucanía, where most incidents with Mapuche leaders took place over the past few years. Chile Vamos' Luciano Rivas got 58.21% of the votes against Eugenio Tuma of the Party for the Center-left democracy, who received 41.79%.
Independent candidates won Atacama, Coquimbo and Biobio.
The ballot, which was carried out in 13 of the 16 regions, was marked by a rebound in coronavirus cases, which led the health authorities to declare quarantine in the entire Metropolitan Region Sunday, although Chileans were not required anything other than their ID cards to go out and vote.
Chile has accumulated almost 1.5 million confirmed cases and more than 30,000 deaths from coronavirus since the pandemic began.
The country will choose its next president on Sunday, November 21, after primaries on July 18.
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