The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, enacted on Tuesday the law to grant SERVEL (Chilean Electoral Service) the powers to establish sanitary rules and procedures so that the October 25 referendum will take place safely and appropriately.
SERVEL will be able to decide on several matters, including how ballot tables will operate at polling stations; voting hours, with a possible extension up to 12 hours; the maximum number of election officials, people in and outside of the polling station; health measures, such as regulating the use of the pencil, mandatory use of facemasks and drawing up a general and mandatory protocol in agreement with the Health Ministry.
“With this we will be able to honor one of our nation’s distinguished republican and democratic traditions, that is for elections to take place in a clean and transparent fashion and, once the results are known, for the decision of the people to be respected,” said President Piñera during a ceremony at Casa Colorada in Santiago. He was accompanied by Interior Minister Víctor Pérez, Health Minister Enrique Paris, Defense Minister Mario Desbordes and Minister Secretary General of the Presidency Cristián Monckeberg, as well as the chairman of the board of the Electoral Service, Patricio Santamaría.
The referendum, part of the “Agreement for Peace and the New Constitution”, aims to allow the Chilean people to vote about a constitution-making process. Initially, the vote was programmed for April 26 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This set of measures ratifies the Government’s commitment to respect and fulfill the agreements made, guaranteeing the conditions to make it possible to hold the referendum in a serious, responsible and safe manner, while providing the necessary safety for citizens to vote with confidence and peace of mind.
“On October 25, the day of the referendum, the voice of the leaders and politicians will be quiet and the voice of the people will be heard, loud and strong. That is what democracy is about,” emphasized the President. During the enactment ceremony, he presented the “Chile vota por Chile” (Chile votes for Chile) campaign, which is designed to promote participation in the process.
“The Constitution is the great unifying framework, the guarantee of stability, the guiding light that allows countries to look ahead into the future. It is the mechanism that will allow us to resolve our legitimate differences in a democratic and peaceful way,” concluded the President.