Sunday’s presidential elections in Chile has seen centre-left candidate Michelle Bachelet win the first round of voting, with the second round to take place on 15th December. Bachelet’s main opponent is Evelyn Matthei, a right-wing candidate that has publicly declared her willingness to continue current president Sebastian Piñera’s social and economic policies.
While Chile is considered one of the richest countries in South America, the country has seen increased protests over recent years in disagreement with the distribution of wealth and wider social policies in education and health. Bachelet has campaigned on programmes aimed at assisting the more vulnerable and poorer segments of Chilean society.
The Indy took to the streets of Buenos Aires to ask Argentines who they wish to see become president of Chile.
Everyone keeps saying that Bachelet will be a huge change for Chile, but I’m not so sure the changes could be that big. I feel disillusioned by politics in general, whether here or in Chile or anywhere else. To be honest, I don’t know too much about the current candidates and their promises. Chileans could look to Bachelet’s last term as president to see how effective she was.
If things don’t change in Chile for the majority of the people, they will only get more frustrated with their politicians and that means more resentment in society. I think as long as whoever is in power actually listens to the will of the majority then it’s all the same. I feel though that more right-wing politicians tend to not do that. Why? I have no idea! It seems simple enough – give the people what they want. Economic development is all well and good but if it only affects a portion of the country then what is really changing? It’s frustrating to see so many other countries hailing Chile as a huge success in the context of South America – is it because there’s a bigger wealth divide just like in so many western countries? If that’s success to them, I’d rather not be successful!
I think Chile needs someone different! Bachelet would be my choice, as I think her policies will be more inclusive and help the people that don’t necessarily benefit or get attention from the current government. I see her as someone with a more ‘parallel’ view to politics in the region. She’s clearly hitting home with what she has been campaigning for as she’s talking about a better education system, which would also allow more students to go to university. Education is so important, especially in this day and age where it’s so hard to find good jobs.
Bachelet’s policies are what I would be more inclined to vote for if I were Chilean. I think the current disparity in the country is really a sign of the times and many people are angered by this. I have many friends in Chile and I know it is very much a place where if you have money you are fine, but if not, then it’s up to you to find your way forward. It’s the responsibility of a government to assist people that are not in such a fortunate position as others.
I know a lot of people have complained about the current president but if Chile is considered to be doing so well, then the current policies must be working to some extent? I would say that change now could disrupt some of the good economic policies that have been helping Chileans.