Chilean Deputies Raise Call for Consecutive Presidential Terms

EspañolA group of deputies from Chile’s governing coalition New Majority have proposed a congressional bill that would allow presidents to be reelected to consecutive four-year terms. The bill’s backers denied it would apply to current President Michelle Bachelet, elected in October 2013, in allowing her to run for a another term in 2017’s presidential elections.

“Recent decades show that economic and social development worldwide follow from implementing long-term programs,” reads the bill, “enforced by governments that remain in power for two consecutive terms.” Brazil, Germany, Colombia, and the United States are cited as examples of countries where two consecutive terms in office are permitted.

Deputy Ramón Farías of the Party for Democracy (PPD), one of the bill’s sponsors, echoed the bill’s rubric, arguing that four years were “not enough to carry out an efficient government program” capable of introducing significant national change.

The text currently suggests that the bill would come into force immediately after approval, but Farías indicated that it wouldn’t apply to the current Bachelet administration. He further said that a clear provision to this effect could be added.

In turn, Socialist Party (PS) Deputy Leonardo Soto agreed with Farías, arguing that the changes envisaged “must look to the future, to the next presidential term.”

President Michelle Bachelet signaled cautious approval for such a measure in an interview with Chilean daily La Segunda in June 2014. She highlighted the risk of a president using the final year of their first term solely to campaign for reelection, but suggested that electorates would punish ineffective or manipulative leaders.

The Chilean Constitution currently provides for presidential reelection only after another president has held the office for four years. Bachelet left her previous term in office (2006-10) with record approval ratings, returning to power in 2014 after the presidency of Sebastián Piñera of the opposition Coalition for Change.

Sources: La Nación, La Tercera

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