Source: teleSUR / The Dawn News / November 16, 2017
A recent change to Chilean legislation has presented an unusual backdrop for this year’s presidential election with limits placed on television and radio ads and a ban on outdoor advertising.
With the election just days away, the barren buildings and billboards create an environment free of political pressure. A new electoral law prevents advertising in the street and puts limits on campaign expenses.
“I see this election very cold compared to other times, with little atmosphere, people are worried about other things, I do not see that there is the effervescence that takes place in an election,” Marcos Davila, a retired professor, told AFP.
Critics of the law cite the drop of civic involvement, while many in the city have said they don’t feel their vote will impact election results and will not be participating.
The United Nations Development Program published a report which analyzed the response to the advertising ban and warned of a low voter turnout.
“Citizen disaffection with elections is a problem that has dragged on since the 90s, but which is accentuated since the vote became voluntary,” the report stated.
It went on to explain that citizens have reacted negatively and begun distancing themselves from politics which only perpetuates sentiments of distrust and heightens the risk of corruption in state administrative roles.
According to statistics, the last municipal elections in the capital of Santiago only attracted 36 percent of voters in a country of 6.5 million.
The government has attempted to address the issue, launching a separate campaign to keep the public involved and circulating messages with slogans such as “Come on, don’t get lost!” which has been adopted by several workers unions.
The election pits the governing New Majority coalition against the conservative Let’s Go Chile coalition led by former president and businessman Sebastian Piñera, with an up and coming left-wing Broad Front coalition also shaking things up.
While Piñera has taken the lead in polls, with the greater part of the right-wing united behind him, the left is split between supporting the governing New Majority coalition and the Broad Front coalition led by Beatriz Sanchez that has been critical of the New Majority leadership.
Those opposed to the big-business-backed billionaire say that the election will ultimately be determined by voter turnout, with a low-turnout favoring the conservatives.