September 5, 2017 Print

The key concept infographic of the winner of the Chile Vamos primary, Sebastián Piñera.

A new phenomenon is cropping up amongst civil society organizations across the world seeking to hold their countries’ respective political parties and candidates who seek to influence public policy accountable during campaigns for election. Similar to 2017 Templeton Freedom Award finalist IMANI Center for Policy and Education’s IMANIFesto project, the Chilean organization Instituto Res Publica (IRP) recently facilitated an intensive public awareness campaign, called #VotaInformado, aimed at educating young citizens about the main proposals and ideas of the candidates in Chile’s 2017 presidential election.

“We want to inform young voters (18-30) of the candidates’ position on some issues for the 2017 presidential election,” said Álvaro Iriarte, director of research for IRP. “We want to show if any of the candidates are fostering an agenda inspired by economic freedom and the ideas of liberty.”

The #VotaInformado campaign operated in the run-up to Chile’s presidential primaries that occurred on July 2, 2017, profiling the 5 candidates running for the nomination of two political coalitions — the Chile Vamos coalition of center-right parties and the Broad Front coalition of left-leaning parties. The governing New Majority coalition did not participate in the primaries. The first round of the general election is scheduled to occur on November 19, 2017.

IRP published several infographics comparing the five candidates’ positions on education, healthcare, monetary, institutional, and social policies.

“For education, we analyzed the candidate’s proposals regarding school choice and the contribution of parents to their child education in the charter schools,” continued Iriarte. “Concerning [health care], we analyzed the free choice of healthcare provider for users of the government healthcare, more competition in private healthcare, and the construction and management of public hospitals by private firms … [Regarding] the country’s economic growth, we analyzed tax reduction proposals for income and corporate tax, as well as in VAT and gas tax. We also checked investment incentives proposed and the existence of a public investments plan. On institutional issues, we focused on constitutional reform and government/bureaucracy size (elimination or creation of new ministries, services and publics offices). And finally, on social issues, we analyzed abortion and gay marriage projects.”

The first series of #VotaInformado’s infographics reached 1.7 million people — more than 10 percent of Chile’s electorate, with a majority of those reached being men and women aged 18 to 30. In the month-long campaign, IRP’s following in Facebook nearly tripled. There were four phases of the #VotaInformado campaign, with the first being the Chile Vamos inforgraphics.

The three Chile Vamos candidates were Sebastián Piñera (former president of Chile), Manuel José Ossandón (a Chilean senator), and Felipe Kast (a deputy in Chile’s Chamber of Deputies).

A week later the second phase of the campaign highlighted the Broad Front candidates through similar infographics.

The two Broad Front candidates were Beatriz Sánchez (a prominent Chilean journalist) and Alberto Mayol (a well-known academic and political analyst).

The third phase encompassed infographics showing the key concepts of each of the five candidates running in the primaries.

The key concept infographic of the winner of the Chile Vamos primary, Beatriz Sánchez.

Lastly, the fourth phase showcased the primary election results by region.

The primary election results of Chile’s northern regions.

Fresh off the heels of this successful campaign, IRP is poised to engage the younger generation of Chileans. “We want to make a difference working with [young people],” concluded Iriarte. “… We are also making a difference by carrying the ideas of a free and fair society to their classroom. After this first approach, we invited the students who are interested in the ideas of freedom to our workshops and seminars at IRP. As a complement to this work, we publish books that try to show the ideas of freedom (as well as their enemies) to a larger audience, such as our latest publication ‘Chile and Latin America: Crisis of the 21st Century Left.’”