Leitao vs. Sharp: the duel that marks the election in the Chilean Association of Municipalities

This Thursday began in Viña del Mar the assembly of the Chilean Association of Municipalities (AChM), which integrates 320 municipalities, with the purpose of renewing the members of its board of directors, executive committee and technical commissions, in addition to setting its programmatic agenda. And in the environment there are already two strong candidates to replace Carlos Cuadrado (Huechuraba) in the presidency: Carolina Leitao (Peñalolén) and Jorge Sharp (Valparaíso).

Tentatively, the five pacts and the independent bench have slipped their candidates and support. Until now, Mayor Leitao (DC) adds the support of his pact, United for Dignity -made up of 60 ten communal chiefs and four from the Progressive Party- and also from the Democratic Socialism coalition (PR, PPD, PS, PL and New Deal).

“I am very happy to be able to contribute to giving a unitary and transversal leadership to municipalism in Chile. Achieving the alliance in a board of directors of all the forces that for decades have contributed in different ways to the equity and progress of the country and adding to the new ones, is something very significant. Our association will have among its missions to contribute from the ground to the governance of the country in times of turbulence and difficulties and to represent the needs of the municipalities from the most extreme areas,” Leitao told La Tercera.

With 64 members, your pact is eligible for six seats on the executive committee. In that sense, other mayors who would accompany her on the list would be other communal chiefs in her third and last term: Javier Munoz (Curicó), Alvaro Ortiz (Concepcion), who could probably be part of the directive, and Rafael Vera (Vicuña).

Víctor Donoso (DC, Cabildo) said that Leitao’s candidacy responds to the fact that the mayor is “very transversal. She has been in municipalism for quite some time. She has always had a leadership. It does not surprise me that it has more support, because it represents very well the concerns that we are experiencing”. What his list proposes, he added, is to promote decentralization, territorial equity and the modernization of municipalities.

Edgardo Gonzalez (DC, Llay Llay) He added that the mayor has “a well convening leadership, who knows a lot about the reality of the territories and municipalities. It seems that there is no person more prepared to take on this challenge than her (…) Today the strongest figure, or the one who positions herself as the probable winner in the election, is Carolina (Leitao) and this has to do with her transversality: there are mayors on the left who know her administration. There are also those on the center right who value the work that has been done.” And he added that he could even get support from right-wing mayors, because “being center-left generates degrees of trust in other political sectors. It doesn’t surprise me that this could happen today.”

From Democratic Socialism they explained their support for Leitao. Rodrigo Garcia (PPD, Cartagena) explained that “all the mayors of Chile transversally have the same problems. Today the support for a list that can make progress in improving and leveling the playing field, so that the municipalities can count on the same amount of resources per inhabitant and become true communal governments (…) the alliances that are produced are because we share many political issues. And at the same time we are going to work and collect the word from President Boric, who injects the amount of resources that he committed in the campaign” to the Municipal Common Fund.

Likewise, from I Approve Dignity -which includes parties from the Broad Front, the Social Green Regionalist Federation (FRVS) and the PC- support for the mayor of Peñalolén is also being evaluated. But nothing is settled. Flavia Torrealba, president of the FRVS, commented on the candidates who could run for the executive committee that “our mayors are in a process of reflection. I approve Dignity is looking at what is the best option for this association. That also has such an important role to play at this time above all. We must move towards community autonomy, but also towards the guarantee of some services that the municipalities have to deliver. Solve the problems of the amount of (personnel to) fees that the municipalities have, which is an obvious labor mistreatment”.

Mayor Daniel Jadue (Recoleta, PC) He would not be nominated as president of the list of the Chile Digno pact, but it is not ruled out that he could be a candidate for a member of the committee.

From the Broad Front, in turn, which includes the municipalities led by RD, CS, PL and Common councilors, the figure of Carla Amtmann (RD, Valdivia) to join the executive committee.

Francisco Riquelme (DR, Casablanca) commented that “negotiations are ongoing. But a basic criterion is to accompany as a political force a table that is for the Approval and commits to deepen the decentralization of the association, with the presence of regions and parity balance. In this sense, as RD our candidate is Carla Amtmannwho generates consensus within the conglomerate and in nearby independents”.

Within the group of independents outside the pact, which has the support of the Humanist Party, there are 79 mayors. And there are at least two movements: one led by Jorge Sharp (Valparaiso) and another for Mario Gierke (Goat).

Sharp recently met in the commune of Peumo with a dozen independent mayors to set up the “independent municipal caucus.” Today some mayors were wearing badges alluding to the faction and from the internal a list will be proposed for the association.

This Thursday, the mayor of the Buenos Aires commune maintained on Twitter that his bench, through the “Letter from Peumo”proposes four actions to work for a new AChM: propose an urgent social agenda to address the effects of the complex economic situation, build a short-term legislative agenda that allows for fundamental and urgent changes in the different municipal spheres, propose the creation of a national board for the enactment of a new local government law and to refound the Chilean Association of Municipalities in order to turn it into a useful tool for the new Chilean municipalism of the 21st century.

Javiera Toledo (German Villa) supports this list, which would be made up of Sharp -as president-, Ignacio Villalobos (Petorca), Cristóbal Labra (San Joaquín), Alejandra Burgos (Curanilahue), Antonieta Oyarzo (Natales), Lorena Facuse (Cerrillos) and Claudio Segovia (Graneros).

“We have a municipal proposal that comes to change and refound what the association is, an association that has to have a regional character and deep citizen participation.. And that for the rest it also has to have a fair mean between not expecting the president to do badly, but defending the municipalities (…) it is important that they return to courage in this new constituent process. That if a new Constitution is approved, then the legislative process will be profoundly municipal, where more powers will be given to the municipalities,” said Toledo.

The other faction is led by Mayor Gierke, who would be available to chair the AChM. He commented that the idea is “to convene the independent mayors in a transversal way, seeking unity to strengthen municipalism, that is the effort we are making.”

Gierke would add the support of various mayors from the south, such as Alfonso Coke (IND, Cunco), president of the Araucanía Region association of municipalities. “The mayor of Cabrero visited many municipalities. We agreed to get together and see what decisions we are going to make. Nothing is settled yet.”

“What we want is for resources to reach La Araucanía (…) That is why the government, in the budget, must put more money. The president announced that he would increase the Municipal Common Fund (FCM). This is the opportunity to do it. We mayors manage poverty (…) only with the money that comes from the FCM, because we do not have companies that pay taxes in our communes. Today the law could be changed, so that forestry companies pay taxes where they have planted”, for example, Mininco and Arauco, with a presence in their commune.

Chile Vamos (RN, UDI, Evópoli and the Democratic Independent Regionalist Party) has proposed as president of the association of municipalities Henry Campos (Talcahuano).

Paula Retamal (UDI, Parral) said that “we are betting on Henry Campos, who has been an integral part of the AChM. He has represented us very well and we want to continue in that line. He has knowledge, a fairly large commune and a territorial reality in this case of what is the south of Chile. That is where in our case we need representation”.

Retamal added regarding the election that “what we want is transparency (…) because clearly we are facing a national plebiscite, on September 4, and we tend to think that this opportunity is an opportunity for the left, for the DC, for the PC, for the FA, to join. We tend to think, I hope that I am the malicious one, and that it is not like that, that they are transforming themselves into a coalition only to pass the steamroller in this case to Chile.. It is something that we will not accept.”

Other municipalities that could make up this list are Retiro and San Javier. The mayor of Puente Alto, Germán Codina, and that of Pelarco, Bernardo Vásquezwould also be among the candidates.

The Mayor Camposin turn, confirmed that, until now, he would be president of the list, and that “in Chile Vamos we believe that it is important to move forward in the integration of a table where everyone is represented (…) but always thinking about the unity and integrity that the AChM has today”.

Claudia Adasme (RN, Papudo) commented that “for us as Chile Vamos today, the most important thing is to be able to maintain the political transversality that the AChM has, and defend from that point, from that body, decentralization, which is so important for the municipalities. ”.

For his part, Enrique Neira (IND-RN, Angol) did not rule out supporting an independent candidate: “One, in these things has to be disciplined, but based on proposals. I do not marry just because I am defined in a political sector if there is not a convincing proposal involved, in relation to the work that is promised to be done and that I believe could be done (…) no candidate has asked me for support, so today I feel free to support the candidate who has the best proposaland hopefully it will be from the line that I represent, “he said.

Leitao vs. Sharp: the duel that marks the election in the Chilean Association of Municipalities – La Tercera