Poll loss for Allende granddaughter in Chile

Maya Fernandez Allende, granddaughter of Chile’s late Marxist president Salvador Allende, lost her first major political race after a recount, the electoral committee said.

Ms Fernandez Allende, 41, lost the mayorship of Santiago’s Nunoa district by 30 votes to incumbent Mayor Pedro Sabat of the centre-right National Renovation party.

Initial results last month put Ms Fernandez Allende ahead and Mr Sabat conceded.

But his party demanded a recount at the National Stadium, where dozens of leftist dissidents were tortured and killed during the military dictatorship that ousted her grandfather in 1973. Her grandfather killed himself rather than surrender.

Chile’s electoral committee said that Mr Sabat got 34,247 votes to Ms Fernandez Allende’s 34,217. Mr Sabat has won the district three other times in 16 years.

Ms Fernandez Allende has not spoken publicly since the recount began, but a message to her followers on her Facebook page seemed to predict the reversal of the outcome.

“Let’s put away sadness because this is a victory (in itself),” she said. “We need to learn to work together and put differences aside.”

Mr Sabat, 58, also served as mayor of Nunoa in 1987-89 during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, who hand-picked mayors.

During big protests over the past year, students fought fiercely against Mr Sabat, sometimes even occupying his office and closing schools.

He reacted by ordering police to crack down on the protests and once even called a girls’ school a “whorehouse”. Mr Sabat apologised for the comment.

“I’m going to try to refrain from saying what I’ve said when these youngsters spit in my face and destroy schools,” Mr Sabat said at a news conference.

“I’ll try to be closer to everyone and try to take a more social approach, in other words, be a better mayor in this next four years.”

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