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LATIN AMERICA

Chilean court invalidates mayoral result

Maya Fernández, a 41-year-old veterinarian, said her lawyers were going to challenge the recount

Maya Fernández, second from left, celebrates her election win.
Maya Fernández, second from left, celebrates her election win.Luis Hidalgo (AP)

Just 16 days after celebrating a surprising victory, a Chilean court on Tuesday invalidated a mayoral race in which the granddaughter of the late President Salvador Allende had been declared the winner.

Maya Fernández, a 41-year-old veterinarian, said her lawyers were planning to challenge the recount in the Santiago borough of Ñuñoa, which gave the election to longtime incumbent Pedro Sabat of the ruling conservative National Renovation coalition.

Sabat, who has been mayor of Ñuñoa for 16 years, won the race by 30 votes, an election tribunal said.

The battle for the mayor’s seat in Ñuñoa — a middle-class neighborhood — has for two weeks been the major focus of the aftermath of the October 28 municipal and regional elections following Allende’s win. On the night of the ballot count, Sabat called to congratulate her after he conceded defeat, losing by 18 votes.

But days later, the National Renovation coalition asked the Regional Election Tribunal for a recount of 61 voting tables. The Socialists say that some of those voting tables must be annulled because there are inconsistencies in the way the ballots were being carried out.

Still, Allende’s lawyers didn’t prevent the tribunal from declaring Sabat the winner on Tuesday. Her lawyers met at the home of her aunt — the novelist Isabel Allende — to draft their appeal.

Maya Allende is the only grandchild of the late president to go into politics. Salvador Allende committed suicide in the September 11, 1973 military coup that toppled his government.

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