A Communist has scored a runaway victory in the National Teachers' Association's executive elections. Jorge Pavez, a member of the current executive, received 11,979 votes, compared to his nearest rival's 2,870 votes. Osvaldo Verdugo, NTA president for the past 10 years, came fifth.
More than 41,000 of Chile's 100,000 teachers voted in the elections for the 15-person executive. They were offered a choice between the Concertacion, a pro-government slate of Christian Democrats and Socialists, headed by Verdugo; a conservative opposition slate; a small pro-government slate, and the Communist party slate led by Pavez. He earned his reputation as president of an outlawed teachers' association during the military dictatorship which ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990.
Since 1990, with the return of an elected government, Pavez has fought the Teachers' Association's pro-government leadership, headed by Osvaldo Verdugo, who supports the Christian-Democrat-led coalition running the national government.
Pavez says he is the new president of the NTA, but despite his electoral victory, his future remains unclear. After teachers have elected the national executive, then, the 15 members distribute posts within the executive, This allocation is based on the number of votes each slate, rather than each individual, received and on the political negotiations between the different blocs.
Pavez topped the polls in the NTA's last elections in 1992, but still ended up as under-secretary to the treasurer, the lowest position on the national executive.