This morning, Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz, together with the Director General of Consular Affairs and Immigration, Ambassador Carlos Appelgren, presented the new electoral roll of Chileans abroad and explained the role that the Foreign Ministry will play in the framework of the upcoming presidential elections in 2017.
Chancellor Muñoz called on all Chileans abroad to exercise their right to vote on November 19. "Many years passed before this could become a reality; now the responsibility of voting is theirs", he said. "It will be a milestone in the democratic history of the country. For the first time. The President will be elected not only by those who vote in our territory, but also by those who live abroad", he added.
The Minister recalled that during the primaries we had a first exercise where around 6,600 people voted. That figure is expected to increase significantly in the presidential election, as registration or change of address increased by nearly 50 per cent.
Thus, while 21,270 people were registered for the primaries, there are now more than 39,000 registered. This exceeds 10 percent of the population eligible to vote outside Chile, which reaches 360,000 people.
As a result of these new enrolments, seven more countries were added to the 55 that participated in the primaries: Haiti, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Turkey. Thus there will be 110 constituencies, with 162 tables, 45 more than in the primary.
The head of diplomacy recalled that the Chancellery began the work of dissemination and preparation almost a year ago, in November 2016, through a website and campaigns of advertisements on television, radio, written media and social networks. For their part, the ambassadors moved to places where there were a significant number of Chileans who did not have a resident consulate. "We are using all of the tools to keep Chileans well-informed. We want to ensure transparency and neutrality for all candidates in the upcoming elections", he emphasized.
During the press conference, a video led by Chileans living abroad was presented to motivate voters to take part in the historic process of voting abroad.
In that regard, the Foreign Minister highlighted the important role played by communities living outside Chile. "During the primary elections, we saw that the citizens came to vote even from the most remote places. That spirit of integration and participation is what we want to maintain from this Ministry of Foreign Affairs", he said.
For his part, the Director General of Consular Affairs and Immigration, Ambassador Carlos Appelgren, in charge of implementing the process abroad, valued the consular work done in the world.
"The Consuls will preside over the Electoral Boards determined by Servel Electoral Service, which guarantees the process because they are career professionals, whose appointment has been exempt from political criteria. We have implemented the logistics required for polling day voting, through the Consuls, and we will be monitoring this process from Thursday, November 16, through Monday, November 21 to assist in all that is required and the process will be a success, as well as in the primary elections".