In a new appointment of a loaded electoral year, Chileans will define today in the presidential primaries who will be the candidates of the ruling party that brings together the center-right and right, and of the left opposition facing the November elections, without the participation of the forces of the former Concertation and with the fear of a very low participation.

Once again, Chileans must go to vote in the midst of a severe social crisis, stripped naked by the 2019 protests and aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has left nearly 1.6 million infected and more than 34,000 people dead.

On this day there are only two primaries registered since this previous step is not mandatory for the political parties: that of the ruling coalition Chile Vamos and the left-wing opposition I Approve Dignity.

Chile Vamos has four candidates in dispute: Joaquín Lavín (UDI), Sebastián Sichel (independent), Ignacio Briones (Evopoli) and Mario Desbordes (National Renovation).

In the I Approve Dignity pact, on the other hand, two candidates will compete: Daniel Jadue, mayor of the capital’s commune of Recoleta and member of the Communist Party (PC), and Gabriel Boric, a militant deputy of Social Convergence (CS), a party that is a member of the Broad Front .

On the ballot, the conservative coalition will have the letter A and the left one, B.

The third leading sector of Chilean political life, the one that governed the country through the coalition called the Concertación from the return of democracy until the first victory of current president Sebastián Piñera in 2010, will not participate.

The traditional parties of the center-left did not reach an agreement with the left to stand in a single primary, so it is expected that in the presidential election on November 21 they will go with several separate candidates.

Several names of possible presidential candidates are already circulating – such as those of the socialist Paula Narváez and the leader of the Radical Party Carlos Maldonado for November, although they themselves asked for a “broad primary” of the entire opposition arch, which finally did not happen.

This presidential primary is the second electoral appointment this year and the third in less than 12 months, after the referendum to approve the call for a Constituent Convention and the subsequent election of conventionals, together with governors and municipal authorities.

The latest elections, also held in the midst of the pandemic and in the midst of strong restrictions to curb the circulation of the virus, showed that citizen participation decreased significantly, despite the climate of political effervescence that the country has been experiencing since the massive protests in 2019.

To this is added that already in recent years, participation in the presidential primaries had been on the decline. For example, in 2017, only 1,745,250 Chileans voted out of the 13,552,823 qualified, 13.4 percent of the electoral roll.

For this year, the register is a little higher, of 14,900,089 citizens, but it is not clear how the non-participation of the traditional parties of the former Concertación will affect, so it is possible that the results will be known early that night.

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