Chile goes to the polls to choose a new president and must take extremes to the second round

Conservative candidate who sympathizes with Trump and Bolsonaro and a youth from the student movement lead polls on voting intentions

EFE/Alberto Valdés and National Congress Library of ChileGabriel Boric (left) and José Antonio Kast (right) are favorites for the second round dispute in Chile

Voters of Chile they will go to the polls for the first round of presidential elections this Sunday, 21st, and, if the polls are right, they will take candidates from two different ideological poles to the second round after years of centrist governments. The country’s most recent vote intention survey, conducted between November 2 and 4 with 1,010 people, showed the far-right candidate, José Antonio Kast, in the lead, with 35% of voting intentions. it is followed by Gabriel Boric, representative of the radical left, which appears with 29%. All others have 12% or less. The rate of people who declared that they would not vote for anyone or do not know who to vote for is 22%, which shows a high rejection by the public.

The erosion of violent protests during Sebastián Piñera’s government has added to the worldwide chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic and a recent scandal involving the president’s family name in the sale of offshore companies. With that, his candidate, Sebastián Sichel, name of the center-right, melted and reached 7% of voting intentions this week, after scoring 12%. The study, carried out by the Cadem Institute, was the last before the elections, as the Latin country prohibits any dissemination of research from 15 days before the population goes to the polls. The candidate from the left, who leads the polls in the country, is only 35 years old and was one of the exponents of the 2011 student protests, winning a deputy position in 2014 and increasing in popularity in the following years. He even defeated communist candidate Daniel Jardue in the primary, but formed coalitions that, according to some experts, may regard him as “further left” than previous candidates.

Kast, a 55-year-old conservative lawyer, has already praised former US president Donald Trump and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. He also imagined that the dictator Augusto Pinochet would have voted for him if he were alive. Despite avoiding mentioning Pinochet’s name in recent debates and public statements, Kast cannot escape the far-right label. While Boric is trying for president for the first time, the right-wing candidate has already campaigned in the last elections and ended up with just 8% of the vote, which signals the advance of conservatism in the country. According to Cadem’s projections, Kast would be the winner in a second round against Boric, with 44% of the voting intentions (against 40% of the candidate on the left).