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death-penalty
(11/06/09) -

Most Chileans Approve of Death Penalty

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The majority of people in Chile are in favour of applying the death penalty in their country, according to a poll by Ipsos. 62.5 per cent of respondents agree with capital punishment in Chile, while 36.7 per cent oppose it.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The majority of people in Chile are in favour of applying the death penalty in their country, according to a poll by Ipsos. 62.5 per cent of respondents agree with capital punishment in Chile, while 36.7 per cent oppose it.

The death penalty was abolished in Chile in 2001, under the presidency of Ricardo Lagos.

Michelle Bachelet—a former defence minister—was elected in a January 2006 run-off as the candidate for the centre-left Agreement of Parties for Democracy (CPD) with 53.49 per cent of all cast ballots. She officially took over as president in March 2006.

A new presidential election will take place in Chile on Dec. 11. Former president Eduardo Frei Ruiz Tagle is the CPD’s consensus candidate. Sebastián Piñera represents the conservative coalition Alliance for Chile (AC).

Earlier this year, lawmakers with the right-wing Democratic Independent Union (UDI)—which is part of the AC—called for the reinstatement of the death penalty after the country was shaken by a brutal crime committed by Juan Saavedra. The man was convicted to life in prison for raping five-year old Francisca Silva and then throwing her alive into the ocean, where she later drowned.

In August, Piñera distanced himself from his supporters on this issue, declaring, "In our country, the death penalty was abolished and, according to the Treaty of San José, Costa Rica, it cannot be re-established."

Polling Data

Do you agree or disagree with applying the death penalty in Chile?

Agree

62.5%

Disagree

36.7%

Not sure

0.8%

Source: Ipsos
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,522 Chilean adults, conducted from Sept. 16 to Oct. 6, 2009. Margin of error is 2.5 per cent.