First polls in Chile indicate victory of the left over the ultra-right in the 2nd round

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A week after the first round of the presidential election in Chile, the first polls of intention to vote, released this Sunday (28), show the leftist candidate Gabriel Boric ahead of José Antonio Kast, reversing the small advantage that the ultra-rightist conquered in the official tally.

There are 20 days left for Chileans to return to the polls and choose their new president and, according to a poll by the Pulso Ciudadano institute, Boric leads with 40.4%, against 24.5% for Kast. In the survey, 15.6% of respondents said they have not yet chosen a candidate, 12.8% that they will not vote — voting in Chile is not mandatory — and 6.9% that they will vote null.

According to the Cadem poll, the leftist also surpasses Kast, with 54% of the votes against 46%. By these calculations, Boric gets 38% of the electorate of economist Franco Parisi, from the Partido de La Gente, who came third in the first round. Already 23% should migrate to the ultra-right candidate, and 39% said they are still undecided.

Parisi, who was the surprise of the election for having obtained a relatively good result despite not having attended the first round and the final phase of the campaign because he was in the United States, had an excellent vote in the north, the region of Chile most impacted by the massive arrival of immigrants.

The economist’s speech pleased voters for being very objective about preventing the coming of more foreigners and for its focus on the economy. Although Kast also proposes to stop the flow of immigration, his conservative speech does not convince the region, which has a history of political and union activism. It is in the north that Chile’s main mining companies are located and where workers are more organized.

Also according to Cadem, 53% of voters for the ruling Sebastián Sichel —who finished the first round in fourth position— said they intend to vote for Kast, 16% for Boric, and 31% have not yet made up their minds.

Asked what the country’s main issues are being debated in this election, respondents listed social rights (37%), health, education and housing (23%), pension and pension reform (18%), women’s rights (18% ), economic growth (16%), drug trafficking (11%), conflict in Araucania (11%), immigration (8%), employment, inflation (8%) and coronavirus (2%).

In recent days, Kast has won support from some figures in the government of the current president, Sebastián Piñera, such as the undersecretary of health Paula Daza. Boric, on the other hand, gained the open support of the Christian Democracy party, which is part of the center-left Chilean forces and was an important part of the Concertação alliance.

Kast already ran for president in 2017, but that year he got just 8% of the vote. Its performance during the current electoral cycle has been similar to the previous one, until it gained strength in recent months, defending an anti-globalist, anti-immigration and anti-communist agenda.

The 55-year-old lawyer defends the reduction of the number of ministries, the sending of troops to militarize the southern region of the country, where disputes between indigenous groups and farmers occur, and the construction of a wall in the north, to prevent the entry of immigrants from illegal mode.

Boric, 35, appeared on the Chilean political scene in the 2011 student protests, which called for free higher education. After acting in the demonstrations, he was elected deputy in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. He defends the deconstruction of the private pension system and greater presence of the State in the economy and in access to health and education.

The lawyer is also in favor of recognizing the sovereignty and culture of the indigenous people, who represent 9% of the Chilean population. He is seen as a moderate leftist, skilled in dialogue and negotiation with politicians of other ideological hues. Among its supporters, however, are more radical leftist forces, such as the Communist Party, which defends the dictatorial regimes in Cuba and Nicaragua.

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