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Chile will have to choose a president of the extreme right or left

SANTIAGO (AP) – Chile will have to choose a new president between two radically opposed candidates, a far-rightist and a leftist supported by the communists, who on Monday began to soften their speeches to attract votes from moderate sectors and from a populist candidate who placed third. in the elections the day before.

The Chileans, who mostly declare themselves moderates, will have to decide in the December 19 ballot whether they want José Antonio Kast, a far-right supporter of the military regime (1973-1990), or Gabriel Boric, a former student leader supported by the communists. Kast went to the second round with 27.9% of the votes and Boric with 25.8%.

“Chileans voted in rejection of traditional coalitions, (the vote) is framed in a deep context of discrediting politics,” Loreto Cox, an analyst at the Catholic University, told The Associated Press. He added that yesterday’s “is by far the most fragmented first round in recent history … This creates a very strong frame of uncertainty.”

After two years of massive protests against social and economic inequality, the demands for changes have not stopped and in successive elections the traditional parties were punished. The favoritism for the extreme right is new and partly responds to Kast’s discourse in favor of public order and peace.

Kast and Boric, who have a 2.1% difference in votes, continued to moderate their speeches and proposals on Monday to gain the support of the center-right and the center-left. Kast reiterated that his programs can be modified, “it is not set in stone”, while Boric said that “we will make all the modifications that are necessary”. In addition, they will have to mobilize at least a part of the 53% of Chileans who did not vote, in a country where suffrage is voluntary.

Paz Milet, an analyst at the University of Chile, told the AP that “I believe that abstentionism is explained by dissatisfaction with traditional politics that they do not see as a generator of change.”

For the far-right and leftist it is vital to obtain at least a part of the 12.8% of the votes obtained by Franco Parisi, a populist commercial engineer who carried out his entire electoral campaign through social networks, from the United States.

“Parisi is populist, antiparty and appeals to the individualism that exists in some sectors of Chilean society,” summarized Pamela Figueroa, an analyst at the University of Santiago de Chile, who added: Kast ”.

Parisi, 54, remains silent until now. He did not travel to Chile, where he has a millionaire claim for alimony debts of his children, and on which weighs an order of arraigo that would prevent him from leaving.

Kast was a four-time deputy for an official governing party, which he resigned to found his Republican party in 2019, which, allied with another conservative community, created the Christian Social Front. Reject abortion, illegal immigrants and equal marriage. In economics, it proposes to reduce taxes by up to 8,800 million dollars.

Boric, the youngest of the candidates, represents Approve Dignity, a pact between the leftist Frente Amplio and the Communist Party. He proposes a tax reform to collect 8 points of GDP, which includes tax increases for the super rich, those who earn more than $ 5,400 per month and green taxes.

Anyone who wins will be obliged to agree to agreements because none will have a majority in Congress, in which the center-right won half of the Senate seats, while the left continues with more deputies, although not enough to approve projects with high quorums.

The markets reacted favorably due to the composition of Congress, which will force agreements. Following Kast’s narrow win, the stock rose more than nine points on Monday, while the dollar rose 30 pesos, the biggest one-day rise in 13 years.

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