FINANCE

Chileans are going to the polls with two radically different perspectives on the ballot by Reuters


Reuters. File photo: From LR: Chilean presidential candidate Gabriel Boric from the left-wing ‘Apreubo Dignidad’ (I approve of dignity) coalition, Jos আন্ত Antonio Cast from the far-right Republican Party, center leftist ‘Nuevo Pacto Social’ from Yasna Provo

Gram Slattery and by Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chileans began voting on Sunday, widely seen as the country’s most divisive presidential election since returning to democracy in 1990, as a far-right former congressman fought it out against leftists who threw him out. Support behind the huge street protests.

On the right, Jose Antonio Cast, a 55-year-old Catholic and father of nine, has vowed to crack down on crime and praised the neo-liberal “economic legacy” of former dictator Augusto Pinochet.

His outspokenness, conservatism across the board, and sometimes-idiosyncratic policy ideas, such as creating a shaft to curb illegal immigration, are frequently compared to https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/chiles-bolsonaro-hard- ex-US Right-Cast-Rise-With-Frank-Talk-Crime-Focus-2021-11-16 with President Donald Trump and Brazil’s Zaire Bolsonaro.

On the left, lawmaker Gabriel Boric, 35, who led student protests in 2011 to demand improvements to Chile’s education system, has vowed to scrap the country’s lace-fair economic model https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/former- Protest-Leader-Boric-Six-Buri-Chilis-Neoliberal-Past-2021-11-17, time to strengthen environmental protection and indigenous rights. Broadly speaking, he represents a significant separation from https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/chile-was-regional-role-model-now-voters-want-change-2021-11-18 from conservative to centralist Those policies have dominated Chilean politics for decades.

“I’m voting for Boric because he’s young, because it’s good for the new generation,” said Sandra Astraga, a 55-year-old housewife from Central Santiago.

After two years of dramatic https://graphics.reuters.com/CHILE-PROTESTS/0100B32527X/index.html, sometimes-violent https://www.reuters.com/article/us-chile-protests-idUSKBN1X81N4 Chileans take to the streets to demand quality improvement. The protests helped in the ongoing rewriting of the country’s Pinochet-era constitution and induced Boric’s candidacy, which led to comfortable leadership in most nations.

“My perception is that the main demands (of the voters) are the same as the protests,” said Gaspar Dominguez, a left-leaning representative of the Chilean Magna Carta rewriting organization. “Rights that relate to social rights, healthcare, education and housing.”

But growing fatigue among Chileans frustrated by political violence, combined with a widespread perception that crime is on the rise, has raised the cast https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/burning-metro-chile-election-divides-voters -Protest-Order-2021-11-20.

In most polls, the cast on Sunday won by a few percentage points, with the runoff likely to be highly competitive in December. Https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/chile-conservative-kast-maintains-lead -Election-2021-11-06.

“He’s going to defeat drug trafficking, which is hurting our country a lot,” said Gloria Reyes Flores, a 66-year-old widow in the upper Santiago district of Las Condes, about the right-wing candidate. “He’s going to control immigration because there are a lot of immigrants who are coming to harm Chile.”

More moderate candidates will perform in a wild card competition. Center-right Sebastian Seichel and center-left Yasna Provost are both voting between 10% and 15%, at least 10 percentage points behind Cast and Boric. But voters say a surprise is still possible because millions of voters remain uncertain.

Unsurprisingly, Cast and Boric will rush to pick voters from Seychelles and Provost in a possible second round scheduled for December 19, making potential moderators of more moderate contestants https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/ Chile-centric-shadow -Elections-still-play-kingmaker-2021-11-19.

Kenneth Bunker, director of political consultant Tresquintos, said that if one of the two top candidates managed to clear 2 million votes, it could be a good indicator that they had expanded their base enough to win the final second round.

Voting begins at 8 a.m. (1100 GMT) and ends at 6 p.m., after which results are expected.

Chile also has 155 seats in the lower house, 27 of the country’s 50 seats in the upper house and 16 seats in the country’s 16 regional councils.





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