Chileans based in Auckland City, New Zealand, were the first to cast their votes because this region has a 16-hour time difference from their origin country. Ambassador Maria Farias expects that 886 compatriots will participate in these elections from this Oceania country.
"This process is of utmost importance to our citizens living abroad because it shows them that they can decide the destinies of their homeland even when they are far from it," Farias stressed.
In Australia, about 5,040 Chileans are likely to cast their votes in Sydney and Melbourne. Ambassador Carlos Marin stressed that both officers and voters must comply with the health protocols established in these territories to prevent COVID-19 contagions.
Young Chilean living in Australia Daniel Tureo told agency EFE that these elections "mark an important step of what Chile needs" because the winning candidate must fight the social inequities prompted by right-wing President Sebastian Piñera.
"In 2020, we ratified the desire for change in our country through the constitutional referendum. The constituent assembly currently works so that the new constitution recognizes the rights of all Chileans. The president who is elected will have the challenge of giving continuity to this process," Tureo stated.
For the first time since the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship was overthrown in 1990, the presidential candidates who are more likely to win are not part of either the Independent Democratic Union or the Socialist Party, which have formed the coalitions that have taken turns in the exercise of power since the return to democracy. The voting intention polls pose Republican Party (RP) candidate Jose Kast and left-wing politician Gabriel Boric as the favorite candidates with 32 and 26 percent of approval, respectively.
So far, Chileans living in the Philippines, South Korea, and Finland have also begun to participate in these elections. According to current regulations, however, Chileans living abroad can only vote for president. They are not empowered to elect 155 lawmakers, 27 senators, and 302 regional councilors.