Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet and her Nueva Mayoría coalition government suffered a major setback in municipal elections on 23 October. In what was the first electoral test for Bachelet since she took office for a second term in March 2014, the opposition coalition Chile Vamos recovered emblematic communes like Santiago which it had lost in the 2012 contest. Nueva Mayoría parties were punished for the government’s corruption scandals, perceived foot-dragging on delivering on electoral pledges, and the continued economic slowdown. Democracia Cristiana (DC), the coalition’s largest party, responded to the electoral disappointment by freezing relations with the government, which it accused of a “lack of self-criticism”. Together with some victories for independents, public disaffection with the political class was also reflected in historic levels of abstention.

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