Santiago de Chile
Today’s presidential election will be won by whoever has made the fewest mistakes in recent days. In a tied second round, according to the polls, Chileans go to the polls to decide who will govern the country for the next four years between the candidate of the Christian Social Front, José Antonio Kast, and the Broad Front, Gabriel Boric. Years that are projected difficult both due to the post-pandemic economic situation, as well as the number of reforms committed and the resolution of the Constitutional Convention that drafts the new constitution.
Chile has not elected a president by absolute majority in the first round since 1999, but this year the scenario reveals a extreme polarization and division of forces, which means that, for the first time, those who passed the ballot did so with less than 30% of the votes each.
In fact, they both need to double their number of votes cast on November 21 in order to win.
The two candidates located at the extremes of the traditional political forces that ruled Chile indiscriminately since the return to democracy, surprised and incidentally, retired the leaders of the former Concertación and Chile Vamos. While Kast heads the newly released Republican Party, which won the support of the center-right after his defeat, Boric does the same with the alliance that all these years denounced the work of the center-left and whose main partner is the Communist Party.
Dispute for the center and change of programs
Due to the large number of voters who were orphaned in the political center, both Kast and Boric made radical changes to their government programs to try to attract those who supported the losers: the populist Franco Parisi and later, Piñera’s former minister Sebastian Sichel and Christian Democrat Senator Yasna Provoste, in that order.
Today’s day does not augur greater participation than the first round where only 47% of the electoral roll voted. And this in absolute blindness since the law prevents polls from being disseminated in the 15 days prior to the election by mass media under penalty of high fines. In addition, in Chile no one conducts exit polls, so you will have to wait patiently for the official results after 8:00 p.m. local.
The pollsters have managed to circumvent the norm by sending the studies to ‘acquaintances’, which are later disclosed by social networksespecially WhatsApp. Almost all speak of a technical tie or a difference of 2 points in favor of one and the other.
On Thursday, December 16, the daily tracking of Atlas Intelligence gave 48.5% to Kast and 48.4% to Boric and 3.1% to the undecided. Cadem Public Square, dated December 10, delivers 39% to Boric, 36% to Kast and 25% does not know or does not respond, while Black and White a 50% tie to both.
So far no one has given signs that they are going to ignore the result, although Kast supporters have spread messages on social networks warning various forms of fraud and criticizing the ‘mismatch of tables’ that the Electoral Service then corrects by checking the minutes with the fingering done. The right-wing parties announced that they will take the result to the Election Qualifying Court if it is adjusted and as the president of National Renovation, Francisco Chahuán, said, it will probably not be resolved today.
After the first presidential round, Boric and Kast reformulated their programs trying to show signs of moderation. Thus, Kast’s went from 204 to 58 pages and Boric’s remained at six. They tried to answer all the questions on vital issues in radio and television debates that were characterized by focusing on personality issues, a controversial past, but little on the differences of their postulates. In fact, Boric’s command accused the contrary of wanting to submerge them ‘in the sewer’.
Kast changes its proposals on taxes
José Antonio Kast modified his proposal to lower taxes on companies from 27 to 17%, stating that it will only be done to the extent that fiscal accounts allow it. It will maintain the AFP pension system with individual savings, introducing greater competition via a state AFP and will increase individual savings by the employer by 4%.
In matters of State, it insists on making it more efficient, but backed down with the idea of eliminating the National Institute of Human Rights and the Ministry of Women, stating that it was a mistake.
Internationally, he no longer supports withdrawing Chile from the UN Human Rights Council, and instead, proposed joint action with international organizations to confront migration. He maintains his decision to build a ditch that Bachelet started on the border with Peru and Bolivia.
He asks for a drug test for authorities in his fight against drug trafficking and he will no longer seek to repeal the abortion laws in three cases, nor the marriage between people of the same sex.
He will urgently take on a set of measures to confront drought, desertification and climate change, a phenomenon he doubted in his first program and withdrew the idea of allowing new thermoelectric plants.
Tax increases with Boric
Gabriel Boric, meanwhile, after the inclusion of economists from the former Concertación in his command, established that the tax increase to achieve a collection of 8% of GDP will now be gradual. The reform contemplates moving towards the end of the semi-integrated system of the income law, an issue that its first program proposed to end outright and maintains a tax on high assets or super-rich and mining royalty.
In pensions, he insists on ending the AFPs and creating a state council to administer collective funds with the savings of all new contributors. Those who are in the current system will be able to keep their individual savings there, but once the new system comes into operation, the future ones go to the other. The pension contribution paid by the employer will be increased by 6 points.
Boric promised to cancel the State Guarantee Credit, CAE, which university students have, but for 20 years. In terms of migration, he now says that he will enforce the law and the situation of the illegals will be studied on a case-by-case basis. He is personally critical of the regimes of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua and a supporter of free abortion and euthanasia, but none of these issues are mentioned in the program.