Chile has been hailed as a model of stable economic growth for decades, but has faltered due to two years of social unrest. It will vote in the general election on Sunday, which has sharply divided the country between the political left and the right.
Sunday’s game was shrouded in huge uncertainty, this is the first presidential election since the election. outbreakThe rise in San Diego subway fares triggered demonstrations or outbreaks in 2019, which quickly escalated into anger at the high cost of living and income inequality.
The protests brought Sebastián Piñera’s now extremely unpopular government on the brink of collapse and initiated a redraft Dictatorship constitution. Chile does not allow re-election, so Pinella, Whose presidential term ended in March, is now untenable.
One of the leaders who entered the second round of the second round of voting in December was 35-year-old Gabriel Boric, a congressman and radical former student leader who protested on the streets against inequality in education ten years ago Fame in one fell swoop.
He hopes that his promise will bury Chile’s “neoliberal” past of market-oriented policies that failed to narrow social differences, and this will resonate with young voters.
His main opponent, José Antonio Kast, is an ultraconservative who defends the free market and traditional values. Custer is a 55-year-old former congressman and father of nine children. He publicly opposes immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion.
Custer called on Chilean voters alienated from the left to promise to restore order and reduce taxes under the leadership of the new nationalist Republican party he founded in 2019. “Dare to challenge yourself” is his campaign slogan.
Andres Bustamante, 31, from Santiago, who voted for Piñera in the last election, said that Castell’s more extreme ideas made him uncomfortable, but He admired “his directness to people”. .. Custer is the only one who is consistent in his message. ”
In the bustling business district of the capital, Sarah González, a 35-year-old psychologist, said that she will vote for Boric in the first round. She considers Boric to be “the best of the bad guys.”者”, but still represents a political establishment, albeit as an independent operation.
Nicholas Watson, Teneo’s head of Latin America, said there are five other competitors, including the former Minister of Social Development under Piñera and the moderate Sebastian Sechel ( Sebastian Sichel), his performance in the last television debate indicated that he may experience a “late surge to surpass Castell”.
A few months before Piñera was leaving office, the impeachment procedure against Piñera further aggravated political tensions. The ruling coalition stated that the left wing used this procedure to seek political benefits.
Chile’s House of Commons voted by a narrow margin starting program The president is accused of misconduct when his family sold mining interests for $152 million. But this week, the 43-member Senate was five votes worse than the two-thirds majority required to remove him.
Piñera may avoid being removed, but for the 15 million Chileans who are eligible to vote, the heated televised debate between the two houses shows how divided the country has become.
“There are two candidates, coming from two extremes… after Chile’s weakest government since the restoration of democracy came to power [in 1990],” Jose de Gregorio, professor of economics and former central bank governor, told the Financial Times.
No matter who becomes the president, he will supervise the voter-approved parliament, which has begun to draft a constitution to replace the current severely divided constitution.
It was adopted in 1980 in the middle of the brutal regime of General Augusto Pinochet. Despite many revisions, it represented a direct connection to the dictatorship for many people.
For others, it is a free market manual, making the country one of the most successful and stable economies in Latin America. The constitution favors private enterprises, and its supporters claim that private enterprises have promoted the country’s vigorous development and lifted millions of people out of poverty.
The new parliament may weaken the power of the president and expand the scope of the Chilean state. Robert Funk, a political scientist at the University of Chile, said that the conference’s emphasis on identity, diversity and political independence may “make it practically impossible to reach agreement on anything”.
All of this could leave the newly elected leader with much less room to manoeuvre, right when the new text is put to a plebiscite in the third quarter of next year.
As for Piñera, regardless of the outcome on Sunday, he will still face a term of more than four months. His approval rating hovers around 20%, which means he may be less popular than Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.