The polls closed this Sunday in Chile at 6:00 p.m. local time after the second round of the elections that will define the name of the new president. The leftist Gabriel Boric started as the favorite, according to the latest polls, in the fight against the extreme rightist José Antonio Kast, winner of the first round by a narrow margin. Since the November 21 election, both candidates have moderated their speeches in an effort to win the center’s vote, refractory to the polarization that marked much of the campaign.
Boric, political heir to the October 2019 revolts, proposes to strengthen the role of the State in the economy, a tax increase to finance social spending and the end of the private pension system inherited from the dictatorship. Kast is a liberal who promises less state and greater participation of the private sector in the provision of public services. Ultra-conservative in the social sphere, he is a candidate who did not completely break his ideological ties with the Pinochet regime.
The two candidates for La Moneda voted early this Sunday. Boric was convinced of his victory, while Kast bet that it will be a “narrow election” with a margin of difference “below 50,000 votes.” The day is being marked by reports of delays in public transport and a shortage of buses to transport voters, especially in Santiago de Chile. From the left they have come to accuse Sebastián Piñera’s government of a “boycott”, but his team assures that there are the same number of buses in circulation as on any weekday.
Follow the minute by minute of the election of this Sunday, December 19 by EL PAÍS:
With 6,188 counted tables out of a total of 46,887, corresponding to 13.19%, of the total voting (Chile and abroad).
When the scrutiny approaches 240,000 minutes, the advantage of Grabriel Boric It is shortened, although the leftist candidate would easily win with 53.4% against the far-right José Antonio Kast. The data, however, at the moment barely collect the ballots of 3.6% of the tables.
Total voting from Chile and abroad, with 3.67% counted, which is not yet representative.
53.44% for Boric and 46.56% for Kast, reports the Electoral Service with its results online.
The counting of this second presidential round has begun. The very first data, with less than 40,000 ballots counted, give Gabriel Boric 64.5% of the votes compared to 35.4% for José Antonio Kast. In approximately 45 minutes, the Electoral Service will announce the first cut, which may also be the first significant reflection of the trend.
Half an hour after the polls close, the Electoral Service (Servel) publishes the first national result with only 0.64% scrutinized. This includes the foreign vote where Gabriel Boric performed better than José Antonio Kast. Traditionally the left fares better than the right outside the country.
The activity begins at the command of José Antonio Kast, in the municipality of Las Condes, with the interventions of two of the women who have had the greatest role in this second round campaign: Evelyn Matthei and Paula Daza.
Election day, in pictures
Fifteen million citizens summoned to the polls to decide the future of Chile between two antagonistic models. This has been the voting day under an unprecedented polarization between those who want to change the system and those who resist change and seek to return to the situation prior to the social outbreak of 2019.
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Daniel Zovatto, from International IDEA, recalls that in Chile it is forbidden to disclose the results of polls two weeks before the election and there is no exit. “The only option is to wait,” he says. The results are known fairly quickly. Between seven thirty and eight thirty we should know who will be the next president.
President Sebastián Piñera awaits the results in La Moneda, with his ministers and undersecretaries. Meanwhile, the counting of votes in the different polling stations in Chile has already begun.
Polling stations begin to close
At six in the afternoon, local time, the polls begin to close after a day in which Chile has voted two-way between two models in the antipodes, that of the leftist Gabriel Boric and the far-right José Antonio Kast. The last hours have been marked by the crossing of accusations and complaints between the two campaigns. Boric’s team has come to accuse the government of the outgoing president, Sebastián Piñera, of a “boycott.” However, the candidate has distanced himself from those accusations. Kast has announced that he will go to court if the result is very tight, that is, less than 50,000 votes. At half past seven the first data of the count will be known that, according to the Electoral Service, will mark the trend of these presidential elections.
Being six in the afternoon in Chile, still very hot, the tables begin to close in the Chilean territory. And the vote count begins. At seven thirty in the afternoon it would already be clear, according to the Electoral Service, who will be the next president for the period 2022-2026.
We are already in command of Gabriel Boric. At the moment there is only press. It is expected that personalities from the Broad Front and the Communist Party will begin to arrive in the next few minutes to live the count. Chile is characterized by the speed with which the electoral results are known. For reference, in the first round just two hours after the closing of the tables there was already a clear trend of the winners.
Good afternoon from downtown Santiago. The stage where the leftist Gabriel Boric will speak if he is elected president is already setting up in the Alameda, the main artery of the Chilean capital. It is located a few streets from the command where the count will continue. There is less than half an hour until the closing of the tables, although the authorities have already clarified that the people who are in line at the time of closing will be able to cast their vote. The issue is especially sensitive in a day marked by the shortage of public transport.
The centers will remain open until there are no people in the voting lines.
With 40 minutes to go until the polling stations close, the authorities announced that the doors will remain open until there are no more people in the lines. In this way, it will try to avoid the photos registered in the first round of November 21, when hundreds were left without voting when the clock struck 6pm.
The difference between this and that day is that the process is much faster this time. In the first round, the members of Congress were also elected president. The large number of options, with huge ballots, caused delays in the voting lines. This time it was enough to mark the vote for Boric or Kast on a small card and place it in the ballot box.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.