As expected, the presidential elections in Chile will have a second round. With 80.54% of the votes counted in the first round, held this Sunday (21), the right-wing lawyer José Antonio Kast was the most voted, obtaining 28.15% of the votes, while the candidate of the Broad Left Front, Gabriel Boric reached 25.32%.
As none of the seven candidates got more than 50% of the votes, there will be a second round on December 19th. Liberal economist Franco Parisi won 13.19% of the vote, according to the latest tally figures. Governmentist Sebastián Sichel reached 12.39%, while center-left candidate Yasna Provoste had 11.87%. Marco Enriquez Ominami, with 7.62%, and Eduardo Artés, with 1.45% of the votes, were in the last positions.
This is the first time since the return to democracy in 1990 that the traditional center-left and center-right parties have failed to reach the second round.
The candidates still in the running have very different agendas, which will force Chileans to choose in December between the most left-wing government since Salvador Allende (1970-1973) or the most right-wing one since the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).
Boric, a 35-year-old MP and former student leader who describes himself as an environmentalist, feminist and regionalist, wants to expand the state’s role to a model of welfare similar to that of Europe.
Kast, a 55-year-old Catholic lawyer, wants to reduce the role of the state, lower taxes, tackle irregular migration and ban gay marriage and all forms of abortion.
“The center-left won’t be in the second round and that’s painful for a political project like ours, which has always thought about how to have an alternative to a neoliberal model,” said Provoste, who left on the air his support for Boric in voting.
The Socialist Party, Provoste’s coalition partner in the former Concertación, announced its support for the leftist candidate. “We ask Chileans not to underestimate the threat posed by a far-right option as the eventual president of our country,” said party president Álvaro Elizalde.
On the other hand, Sichel, who was supported by current President Sebastián Piñera, said he is open to talk with Kast, as he will not vote for Boric because he does not want “the far left to win”.
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