Chile extends April elections

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

Santiago, (Asian independent) Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced that the April Constitutional Convention elections would be extended from one day to two, amid a rise in Covid-19 infections.

In a statement on Sunday, Pinera said the decision was made to allow “not only all citizens to vote, but also to ensure greater physical distancing, avoid crowds and protect the health of all citizens”, reports Xinhua news aency

“I am sure that with the support and collaboration of all, as we have had an exemplary vaccination process, recognised and appreciated throughout the world, on Saturday, April 10, and Sunday, April 11, we will also have an exemplary election that honours our democratic tradition,” he said.

In four more weeks, Chilean citizens will choose from among more than 15,400 candidates who will stand for local, provincial, and national positions.

In these elections, 155 people will be chosen to draft a new constitution as part of the solution to the social crisis that erupted in October 2019.

This follows the 2020 Chilean national plebiscite, where 78 per cent of voters approved to the writing of a new text.

The Ministry of Health reported 100 more deaths and 5,734 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the fourth consecutive day of over 5,000 daily infections.

According to the Ministry, Chile has registered 891,110 cases and 21,674 deaths from the disease so far.

Covid-19 cases have been on the rise in Chile, placing increased pressure on hospitals, with 192 intensive care beds available nationwide.

Health Minister Enrique Paris said that cases have decreased in only four regions of the country in the last week while they have risen in others, particularly in Tarapaca, Valparaiso, Biobio, and the Santiago Metropolitan Area.

Chile has been under a state of emergency for a year due to the pandemic and Congress approved the extension of emergency measures this week to gain control over the virus.