ELECTIONS HELD IN 2001
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|Senado de la República|
|16 December 2001|
|Elections were held for one-half of the elective seats in the Senate on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.|
|Voters went to the polls on 16 December 2001 in congressional elections. Some eight million Chileans were expected to cast their votes to replace all 120 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 19 of the 38 directly elected senators. Eleven other senatorial seats are held by appointees and former Heads of State.
Eleven years after the restoration of democracy following a 17-year military dictatorship, the main campaign issues included unemployment and a struggling economy. In the run-up to the elections, some of the weaknesses of Chile's electoral system, such as the apathy of young voters and the exclusion of small parties, were highlighted.
The centre-left coalition in power saw its hopes of reforming the Constitution left by former dictator Augusto Pinochet battered, as it lost the Senate following the elections, but maintained control of the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate.
Santiago's mayor Joaquín Lavín, who led the right wing opposition Alliance for Chile, made the most gains winning 44% of the vote, with a total of 57 seats out of 120 in the Chamber of Deputies. Mr. Lavín's party, Independent Democratic Union, UDI, almost doubled its total vote since the previous legislative election in 1997, becoming the party with the most seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Indeed it won a total of 35 seats up from 22, thus toppling the Christian Democrats as the most important single political force in the country since the return of democracy. The high unemployment rate (9.7% in October 2001, compared with 5.3% in 1997) was cited by the local press as the main reason for the slightly lower support for President Ricardo Lagos's ruling coalition. Mr Lagos' coalition obtained 48 per cent of the votes for the Chamber of Deputies (62 seats) and 51 per cent of the votes cast to renew half of the Senate positions.
The newly elected Congress was convened in March 2002.
|Round no 1 (16 December 2001): Elections results|
|Number of registered electors||2 307 154|
|Voters||1 957 266 (85%)|
|Blank or invalid ballot papers||240 324|
|Valid votes||1 716 942|
|Round no 1: Distribution of votes|
|Coalition for Democracy (CPD)||18||880 978||51.31|
|Union for Chile Pact (PUC)||14||756 006||44.03|
|Communist Party||9||45 339||2.64|
|Round no 1: Distribution of seats|
|Coalition for Democracy (CPD)||9|
|Union for Chile Pact (PUC)||9|
|Distribution of seats according to sex:|
|Percent of women:||4.08 %|
|Distribution of seats according to age:|
|41 to 50 years||9|
|51 to 60 years||14|
|61 to 70 years||16|
|Over 70 years||10|
|Ex Armed Forces||7|
|Civil servants (incl. former)||1|
Copyright © 2001 Inter-Parliamentary Union