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Communists win Santiago mayoralty in another stunning victory for the left in Chile

CHILEAN communists celebrated another stunning victory on Monday as Iraci Hassler was elected as mayor of the capital Santiago.

“We hope that what is happening today in Santiago is the prelude to what is also coming in our country, where never again will the right govern against our neighbours,” she said in her victory speech.

Ms Hassler became the first communist to be elected to the post since the fall of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in 1990. She polled nearly 39 per cent of the vote.

She was elected on the Santiago Constituent Mayoralty platform which brought together more than 50 social, political and women’s rights organisations to defeat outgoing Mayor Felipe Alessandri and a number of other challengers.

“We are going to have a new constitution and a transformation in Santiago’s neighbourhoods to conquer our dignity and a have a good standard of living,” Ms Hassler said.

She is only the second woman to hold the office and the first since 2012.

Her victory came after the left took a majority in the 155-seat Constitutional Convention, the body which will write Chile’s new constitution, after two days of voting at the weekend.

The result confounded pollsters and analysts who had predicted a strong showing from right-wing and conservative parties.

But they failed to achieve the required number of seats to block progressive changes to the constitution, which was imposed by the Pinochet regime in 1980.

Communist Party presidential candidate and mayor of Recoleta Daniel Jadue said on Sunday that the strong showing for the party meant it now represents a real option in the construction of a new Chile.

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