When the clock marked 16:00 in Chile and for the first time in history, the Chileans living outside our country were able to exercise their right to vote. This historic moment took place in the Chancellery in Wellington and it was witnessed in real time by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Heraldo Muñoz.
The Secretary of State highlighted that "this has been a long-awaited wish by our fellow countryman residing abroad and the modification of the Constitutional Organic Law, that was approved almost unanimously by the Parliament, has allowed Chileans to exercise their right to vote, regardless their country of residence".
From the Operation Centre in the O'Higgins Room in the Chancellery, direct contact with Wellington's Consul Maria Fernanda Gómez was established. "There has been great expectancy, a lot of enthusiasm and we are really happy. The entire staff of the embassy has been here the entire day and we have worked together to receive the Chileans that are coming to vote" declared the diplomat.
The first Chilean who was able to vote was Luis Caballero: "I have lived in New Zealand for the past 28 years and today I have the honor to be the first one to vote. Chile was being left behind and now we are present all over the world".
An hour later the voting councils opened up in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth, Australia. According to reports, the last tables to close will be the ones in Canada and United States, which will close 3 hours after the closing time in Chile. The first recount will take place in New Zealand, on Sunday at 18:00 hours local, which is equivalent to 10:00 of Sunday in Chile.
The electoral process was overseen by the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Edgardo Riveros, the General Director of Consular and Immigration Affairs, Carlos Appelgren, the President of the Directive Broad of the Electoral Service Patricio Santa María and the President of the Electoral Review Board, Patricio Valdés, amongst others.
The voting of Chileans abroad will take place in a total of 117 electoral tables, within 102 electoral councils determined by Servel in 55 different countries.