'Aunt Pikachu' Triumphs in Chile Election to Draft New Constitution

A woman who became famous for joining protests in Chile while wearing a Pikachu costume has been elected to the body that will draft the country's new constitution.

Giovanna Grandon, more widely known as Aunt Pikachu, was elected as one of the representatives for District 12 in southeast Santiago, the capital, after the nation went to the polls over the weekend.

According to Chilean outlet Meganoticias, Grandon managed to win more than 16,000 votes in the election to re-write the country's constitution following protests that broke out over inequality in October 2019.

On Twitter on Monday, Grandon thanked those who protested and added: "I want to thank the students who jump the turnstiles, those who gave their lives, those who lost their eyes, those who were tortured.

"And to those who never let go of the street."

The activist was a visible presence at anti-government rallies and has previously been filmed being detained and pepper-sprayed by police when she attended a demonstration last year.

Explaining why she wore the popular Pokemon costume, Gradon told La Tercera last year: "Young people have always liked anime, and they see a friend in Pikachu."

Quiero agradecer a
Los estudiantes que saltan los torniquetes,
los que dieron su vida,
los que perdieron sus ojos,
los torturados
Y a los que nunca soltaron la calle #Elecciones2021CL #LalistadelPueblo @LaListaPueblo @QuirogaCalama @EPInforma @FrenteRebeldes pic.twitter.com/aKQIzEQByp

— Giovanna Grandón (Tía Pikachu) (@TiaPikachu) May 17, 2021

Her triumph in the election reflects a broader success for independent and left-wing candidates who stunned the ruling center-right coalition and will craft the new constitution.

CNN Chile projected that independent candidates would take 45 seats in the body, the center-right coalition Chile Vamos, backed by President Sebastian Pinera, would obtain 39. The center-left is expected to pick up 25 seats and the far left 28.

A small coalition was predicted to take one seat and 17 seats have been reserved for indigenous communities.

The new constitution would need two-thirds approval from 155 elected members to be passed, which the ruling coalition, having failed to secure the critical one third, will now struggle to block unless it can make new alliances.

Fierce protests started in the South American country in 2019 after a rally sparked by a subway fare hike grew into a wider movement against income inequality, corruption, privatization and improved living standards.

Protests said the previous constitution, drawn up during the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, was the root of social inequalities in the countries that favored corporations over citizens. It is also seen as one of the last remnants of the dictatorship.

The Chilean government declared a state of emergency in the capital Santiago during the height of the protests in 2019.

Protestors and police clashed on numerous occasions after demonstrators targeted nearly all of the 164 metro stations by destroying gates and turnstiles and even throwing Molotov cocktails forcing the closure of the subway system—the largest on the continent.

The candidate wore a Pikachu costume
The candidate wore a Pikachu costume. In this photo, Chilean school bus driver Giovanna Grandon,fancy dressed as Pikachu—from Japanese series Pokemon—takes part in a protest at Plaza Italia, in Santiago on October 9, 2020. MARTIN BERNETTI / Contributor/Getty