Santiago de Chile
Several surprises marked the electoral day in Chile this Sunday: A large influx of voters that scared away the fear of a large abstention and the almost 30 percent of the votes that the far-right candidate obtained, José Antonio Kast, who prevailed over the young candidate of the leftist Frente Amplio and the Communist Party, Gabriel Boric, who scratched 24 percent of the vote. With these results, both candidates for the presidential seat of La Moneda will have to compete in the second round on December 19.
The vote obtained by economist Franco Parisi, a right-wing populist, who did not campaign in Chile, mobilized his voters only through the internet and social networks, and who has avoided returning to the country before the possibility of being arrested, has also surprised. and judged by a millionaire debt of food that maintains with its children.
Located in third place in the vote this Sunday in the bulk obtained in the north of Chile, he probably endorsed his vote to Kast.
The biggest shipwreck was suffered by the center coalitions that governed the last 30 years, twenty at the hands of the Concertación –the alliance of Christian Democracy and Socialists-, and another ten in charge of Vamos Chile, the alliance that twice led to the presidency to businessman Sebastián Piñera. The candidates from these blocks, the lawyer Sebastián Sichel from the right-wing parties, and the teacher and senator Yasna Provoste, from the DC-PS coalition, were relegated to fourth and fifth place.
Much further back and fulfilling the forecasts, the candidates Marco Enríquez Ominami, an independent social democrat, reached almost 8 percent of the vote; while the Maoist professor Eduardo Artés barely 1.5 percent.
The choice was made with the background process of elaboration of a new Constitution through a joint and integrated Convention with seats for native peoples. The new constitution will replace the institutions left by the military dictatorship of the late General Augusto Pinochet and debate on a bill of social rights that would guarantee education, health and a distribution system for pensions. The constituent process was the result of the social revolt of October 2019, which questioned the social inequalities, abuses and debts left by private education and health.
“Kast is a threat to democracy,” said the president of the Socialist Party as soon as the first calculations were known. The senator immediately advanced his support for Boric in the second round.
“We don’t care who is president,” the candidate Yasna Provoste said in turn, and hopes to talk with Boric in the next few days, “if he shows signs of openness and dialogue.”
The other defeated candidate, the center-right Sebastián Sichel assured that will not vote for Boric, and that he hopes to talk with Kast to agree on programmatic changes. And this is a key point for the ballot.
Kast has presented a proposal classified as “extreme right”, by proposing to build a ditch to prevent illegal migrants from entering Chile, a strong hand against crime and militarization of the Mapuche area in the face of acts of violence that take place in that territory, It will repeal the abortion law for three reasons, it will eliminate the Ministry of Women and close the Institute of Human Rights. Economically, Kast proposes a tax cut and the partial privatization of the state copper mining company.
The two candidates who go to the second round not only have differences of political projects. While Kast is a lawyer linked to conservative catholic sectors, Boric is a neomarxista who cultivates the reading of Latin American poetry and narrative. Both are from migrant families, Kast has German origins linked to Nazism; while Boric comes from Croatian migrants who settled in the harsh environments of the extreme south of Chile.
Now come the second round lineups, which is a new election and whose results are not assured, although Kast has a slight advantage in his favor. Both candidates now also have their sights set on Congress and how it is integrated, since they will require agreements in parliament to carry out their programmatic proposals and also have the governance to fulfill their mandate until 2026, with a new Constitution involved.