The candidate of the Chilean extreme right, José Antonio Kast, obtained the first majority in the presidential elections in Chile on November 21, beating by two points the standard-bearer of the Left Broad Front in alliance with the Communist Party, Gabriel Boric (27 , 91% versus 25.83%, respectively). But, although the very night of the election the Republican managed to install a convoking speech and in the following hours quickly ordered all the parties of the ruling right around his figure – even the Liberals, who historically had resisted him – the The advantage with which he started the race for the December 19 ballot has been diluted in the following days, at least according to the polls. According to three polls published in Chile this weekend (that of Black and White, Pulso Ciudadano and the pollster Cadem), Boric surpasses Kast, although different levels of advantage are assigned to him, ranging from three to 16 points .
It is an unusual second-round election for Chile. Since 1999-2000 the presidencies have been resolved in ballots, but always between the moderate sectors of both the left and the right. In the election of 10 days ago, on the other hand, none of the candidates obtained over 28% – something unprecedented in the country -, so both must conquer large sectors of the electorate to reach 50%. It is not ruled out that a reversal of results occurs for the first time: that the one who came second in the first round surpasses the first majority, as has never happened in the country.
Both Kast and Boric seek to moderate their speech and their Government program, especially since the new configuration of Congress as of March 2022 will not make it possible for a political sector to go through the backhoe, as at present, where the majority had an evident majority. opposition to Sebastián Piñera. In these days of the campaign, there is a certain consensus that the results of the first round have already changed the Chilean political scene and that none of the candidates can stay at the ends of the spectrum.
Boric has faced obvious internal tensions since November 21, especially with the Communist Party, his main ally in reaching La Moneda. Mayor Daniel Jadue, who was beaten by Boric in the presidential primary in July, insulted 12.8% of the voters of the populist Franco Parisi, the candidate who obtained third place without having set foot in Chile. The communist leader described them as “tremendously individualists.” “The only thing they are looking for is more money in their pocket,” said Jadue about the voters of Parisi, an electorate that Boric needs to conquer to reach the Executive. Guillermo Teillier, the leader of the communists, put more fuel on the fire when he said that there was no time to discuss a new government program, closing the door to modifications that are essential to conquer the moderates. It was corrected by Boric himself.
But the first round results have forced the candidate to seek support in other sectors of progressivism to obtain a majority, which has inevitably led the Communist Party to occupy a less visible place in this new stage and, possibly, in a possible new government. . Boric has hired important center-left economists to advise on his program – Andrea Repetto and Eduardo Engel, among others – and has sought support in the sectors that once made up the defunct Concertación, which ruled Chile between 1990 and 2010. In one of the many paradoxes of Chilean politics, it has been leaders and parties of this sector that have supported Boric in this stage, despite the fact that the Frente Amplio of the left was installed on the board precisely with the aim of replacing the generation he led the transition.
The Socialist Party backed him the very night of the election. Ricardo Lagos, who presided over Chile between 2000 and 2006, promptly supported Boric, although his figure has been one of the favorite targets of the new generation of the left, which accuses him of neoliberal policies. The foundation that Michelle Bachelet has in Chile, Horizonte Ciudadano, announced its commitment to Boric, which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights herself could make transparent on her next visit to her country. Boric’s photograph in a private meeting last week with the president of the Christian Democracy, Carmen Frei, was the preview of what happened in the national board of this formation, where on Sunday it was decided to support him “without conditions”, although the The party will remain in opposition in the event of a deputy triumph on December 19.
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Boric, in turn, has signed with great resonance the incorporation of popular figures, such as the resigned president of the doctors’ union, Izkia Siches, a generation partner of the candidate who had a high citizen evaluation in 2020, within the framework of the pandemic.
Kast has counterattacked with the signing of one of the best positioned faces of the current government, the one who served until yesterday as undersecretary of the Ministry of Health throughout the health crisis, Paula Daza. But as Boric has had to catch up with matters related to public order in which Kast had a great advantage, the Republican candidate has had to face strong reproaches in the field of individual freedoms. Last week, one of the elected deputies of the Republican Party, Johannes Kaiser, had to resign from the formation after his misogynistic and xenophobic comments became widely known.
“What happens is that you have a kind of schizophrenia, women stop going to the park to jog because they are afraid of immigrants who may rape them, but they continue to vote for the same parties that bring these people and you really wonder if the The right to vote was a good idea, ”Kaiser said in a 2017 video, now prompting the immediate rejection of candidate Kast, who needs to win over the moderate sectors.
Despite the incorporation of popular right-wing figures such as Daza and the signing of economists linked to the center-right – Sebastián Claro and Sylvia Eyzaguirre, among them – the Republican Party candidate has not received the direct support of the candidate who obtained fourth place , the ruling Sebastián Sichel. The lawyer, who obtained 12.78%, said that he will not vote for Boric, without making it clear that he will vote for Kast.
Meanwhile, Kast begins a tour of the United States this Monday night, to meet with businessmen and politicians. It seeks to appease abroad its reputation as a far-right wing and deliver internal signals regarding public order, fiscal responsibility and the promotion of investments, in a counterpoint to Boric. On the 24-hour trip, he would meet with Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
Despite what the first polls of this new stage of the La Moneda race indicate, however, there are still almost three weeks left for the ballot and it is a highly competitive election that could be defined by narrow margins, especially considering the high volatility of the electorate. Again, the number of people who go to the polls in a country with structural abstention will be fundamental. In the first round, 47% of the voters participated.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.