This blogger confesses to not paying quite enough attention to this month’s election in Chile, since Michelle Bachelet is so far ahead of other candidates in the polls. The most recent survey by the Centro de Estudios Públicos suggests that the former president may even win the first round of voting, in contrast to Chile’s previous three elections in which no candidate won a majority and a runoff vote was held. http://www.cepchile.cl/dms/lang_1/encuestasCEP.htm
The CEP poll said that 40 percent of those of those queried said they definitely plan to vote for Bachelet, while another 18 percent said they might vote for her. Not a clear majority, perhaps, but only 11 percent of respondents said they were voting for Evelyn Matthei and 12 percent said they might vote for her. There are seven other candidates running for president, but the figures for their support run in the single digits.
The only jarring note here is that increasing numbers of Chileans say they will not, or probably will not, bother to vote on November 17. The CEP poll reported that only 50 percent of respondents said they were definitely planning to vote, a three percent decline from two months ago, 23 percent said they would probably vote, 10 percent said they would probably not vote and 15 percent said they were definitely not going to vote.
Forbes has an opinion piece on the election by Axel Kaiser, director of the conservative think tank Fundación para el Progreso, who seems to want to counteract Chilean voter apathy by warning of the dire consequences in store for the country if Bachelet wins. The title asks “Is This the End of the Chilean Economic Miracle?” and notes that Bachelet’s center-left coalition, the Nueva Mayoría, now includes the Chilean Communist Party. http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/10/28/is-this-the-end-of-the-chilean-economic-miracle/
The Santiago Times has weighed in on the Forbes piece http://santiagotimes.cl/forbes-article-warns-bachelet-end-chiles-economic-miracle/, noting that a recent JP Morgan Latin America Equity Research Report had favorably reviewed Bachelet’s economic platform. The Economist reports that Bachelet is already playing down expectations of any radical changes to come, quoting her as saying that Chile has done a lot of good things and that “you can be popular without being populist.”http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21589430-more-left-wing-michelle-bachelet-set-win-tide-social-discontent-cruising-back
On another subject, here’s a link to a recent piece by the New York Times’ Frugal Traveller on the sublime charms of Chiloe island: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/30/travel/churches-and-cheap-seafood-off-the-coast-of-chile.html