Election Update . . Chile, Honduras, and Venezuela

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By: Dominick J. Combs

In Latin America, Chile, Honduras, and, Venezuela elections are taking place the last few months of 2013.

The types of upcoming elections that are taking place in Chile are Presidential and Legislative elections.

In Chile; when the election process is completed, if none of the candidates running for president have received the majority vote, a runoff election will be held on December 15th 2013.

How many seats are up for grabs? First, citizens in Chile will be deciding the next president; who will be elected to a four year term. Presidents in Chile can conserve multiple terms in their careers, however, they cannot serve consecutive terms.

In addition, all 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies are up for grabs in this year’s election. Winners of this year’s election for the Chamber of Deputies will also get the chance to serve a four year term as well.

The citizens of Chile are going to be voting for senators as well in this year’s election. There is a total of 20 out of 38 seats open this year—unlike the president and the Chamber of Deputies; members of the senate serve eight year terms.

Candidates to watch for: A recent poll on September 24th showed that the former President Michelle Bachelet was in the lead for this year’s elections. Meanwhile, her biggest opponent, and Labor Minister, Evelyn Matthei of the conservative Independent Democratic Union Party is still in the hunt. Furthermore, Camila Vallejo, the former leader of the Confederation of Chilean Students is trying to reserve a deputy seat for the Communist Party.

What is voting like in Chile? This is a historic year in Chile, due to the fact that for the first time ever voting is not mandatory. The citizens that are deemed as eligible voters will be automatically registered. Nevertheless, those citizens of Chile that are abroad are not permitted to vote

Meanwhile in Honduras, the election date is set for November 24th 2013 when Presidential and legislative elections will take place.

Seats up for grabs: Like in Chile the president will be elected for a four year term, and the election is based on a majority vote. However, unlike Chile, in Honduras there is no runoff election.

There are 128 seats for the unicameral Congress; the winners of these seats will also receive four year terms. The citizens of Honduras will also be electing mayors and vice-mayors in this year’s election.

Candidates to watch for: The two that seem to be the front runners in this year’s election for president are Xiomara Castro de Zelaya and Juan Orlando Hernández. The candidate running for the Freedom and Reestablishment Party is the former first lady Castro. In recent polls Castro was indeed leading, however Hernandez, who represents the National Party and who is currently the president of the Honduran Congress is now tied with Castro.

What is voting like in Honduras? Voting for citizens in Honduras unlike Chile is mandatory. Also citizens living abroad are permitted to vote.

In Venezuela, The election date is slated for December 8th 2013.  Unlike Chile and Honduras these are municipal elections.

Seats up for grabs: This year Venezuelan citizens will be voting in favor for 337 mayors and 2,435 city councilmen, the individuals elected will serve four year terms.

Candidates to watch for: The election that most might consider to be the most important is the election for mayor of metropolitan Caracas. Currently, Ernesto Villegas of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela is making himself known. He resigned as the information Minister so he could try to run for the position. He faces a worthy opponent in Mayor Antonio Ledezma—a member of the opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition; Mayor Ledezma is looking to continue his career by getting re-elected and remaining in office.

What is voting like in Venezuela? In Venezuela citizens do not have to vote if they wish not to. Runoff elections are not practiced in Venezuela, and the amount of individuals that are going to have the chance to vote in this year’s election will exceed 19 million. Citizens are allowed to vote while living abroad, however, only if it is a presidential election.

The current President of Venezuela Mr. Maduro’s anti-American memo’s he used to obtain power and win the presidential election could be changing. After Mr. Maduro won the presidential election he shortly thereafter sent an isolated message to Washington implying that he is ready to have better relations with the United States. Good relations with Venezuela are beneficial for the United States because Venezuela produces a vast amount of oil for the US.

In other news in Argentina, Things are not getting any better for President Cristina Fernandez’s in this year’s mid-term elections. Ever since her surgery to extract blood that had assembled in her brain on October 8, her allies have been losing the battle for votes. On Sunday October 27th President Fernandez’s allies lost their majority in congress; as a result, it will be difficult for President Fernandez to make legislative modifications that may help her succeed in the 2015 elections.

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