South America

Election Postponed in Chile amid COVID surge

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest against Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s government amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in Santiago

With new COVID-19 infections rising and hospital space critical, Chilean lawmakers approved postponing an election to select an assembly tasked with rewriting the country’s dictatorship-era constitution.

Under the approval Tuesday, the assembly election, along with local and gubernatorial elections, will be postponed until mid-May.

The elections had been originally scheduled for April 10-11, but with Chile experiencing the worst days since the arrival of the pandemic and intensive care units at 96% capacity, President Sebastián Piñera proposed delaying voting until May 15-16.

In an Oct. 25 plebiscite, nearly 80% of Chilean voters supported seating an assembly to rewrite the constitution inherited from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet when the South American country returned to democracy.

Delays in approving the postponement of next weekend’s voting came after the opposition conditioned their acceptance of the proposal on expanding pandemic economic aid to more vulnerable groups and parts of the middle class.

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Desiderio Fernández is our correspondent from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His core expertise lies in investigative journalism with previous assignments in Mexico and Cuba. He has 26 years of experience in this field.

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