By Fabian Cambero and Natalia A. Ramos Miranda
SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Ultra-conservative José Antonio Kast was leading the vote count in Chile’s presidential election this Sunday, followed by left-wing candidate Gabriel Boric, and the two will face off in the second round in December.
With 71.45% of the votes counted, Kast had an advantage with 28.3%, while Boric had 25.07%.
Chileans began voting on Sunday in the presidential election considered the most polarized since the country’s return to democracy in 1990, with a far-right former lawmaker facing a left-wing deputy who supported the 2019 protests.
Kast, a 55-year-old Catholic and father of nine, promised to fight crime and praised the neoliberal “economic legacy” of former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
His direct, conservative style and occasionally idiosyncratic political ideas, such as building a moat to prevent illegal immigration, have drawn recurring comparisons with former US President Donald Trump and President Jair Bolsonaro.
Left, Deputy Gabriel Boric, 35, who led student protests in 2011 demanding improvements in Chile’s education system, has pledged economic reform in the country while strengthening environmental protections and indigenous rights. Overall, it represents a significant departure from the conservative and centrist policies that have dominated Chilean politics for decades.
“I’m going to vote for Boric because he’s young, because it’s good to give space to new generations,” said Sandra Astorga, a 55-year-old housewife in Santiago.
The election comes after two years of protests, sometimes violent, in which Chileans took to the streets to demand improvements in living conditions in the country. The protests led to the proposal of a new constitution to replace the current one, created in the Pinochet era, and boosted Boric’s candidacy.
“My view is that the main demands (from voters) are the same as the protests,” said Gaspar Domínguez, a left-wing member of the Constituent Assembly. “Rights have to do with social rights, health, education and housing”.
But growing exhaustion among Chileans who can’t stand more violent demonstrations, combined with the widespread perception of increased crime, boosted Kast.
The second round will be held on December 19th. After voting, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera said that those elected, and that they should take office on March 11, “never forget that they were chosen to serve the people.”
The country also voted for 155 seats in the Chilean Chamber of Deputies, 27 of the 50 seats in the Senate, and all seats in the country’s 16 regional councils.
(With additional reporting by Gram Slattery and Carlos Serrano)
+ Horoscope: check today’s forecast for your sign
+ Video: Driver leaves Tesla car on autopilot and sleeps on SP highway
+ Food stamps: understand what changes with new rules for benefit
+ See which were the most stolen cars in SP in 2021
+ Expedition identifies giant squid responsible for ship wreck in 2011
+ Everything you need to know before buying a crockpot
+ Discovered in Armenia most eastern aqueduct of the Roman Empire
+ US agency warns: never wash raw chicken meat
+ Passenger attacks and pulls out two stewardess teeth
+ Aloe gel in the drink: see the benefits
+ Lemon-squeezing trick becomes a craze on social media
+ Lake Superior: the best freshwater wave in the world?
#Conservative #Kast #leftist #candidate #Boric #fight #Chile #ISTOÉ #MONEY