Sunday, September 25, 2022

Hope wins over fear in high-stakes chili election

Chile on Sunday chooses far-right and left-wing candidates for president to lead the country through a period of constitutional change amid a clamor for social reform.

Fearing renewed mass protests in response to the result of a neck-and-neck race between ultra-Orthodox lawyer Jose Antonio Cast, 55, and former student activist Gabriel Boric, a millennial 20-year nation of 19 million people on the edge Is. Junior.

For a country that has voted centrist since the democratic ouster of brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet 31 years ago, there is a clear choice between two political outsiders – one promising a “social welfare” state, the other Chile’s neoliberal There is a continuation of the economic model.

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Many fear the socially and economically conservative policies of law-and-order candidate Cast – an amnesty for Pinochet, anti-gay-marriage and abortion, and proponents of cuts in taxes and social spending.

Others are shunned by Boric’s political alliance with the Communist Party, which many in Chile associate with the failure of Venezuela, from which many migrants are widely blamed for the increase in crime.

The socially liberal Boric, who led Chile’s anti-inequity uprising in 2019, has vowed to increase social spending in a country with the world’s biggest gap between rich and poor.

A municipal worker conducts the final details of the polling station at the Repubblica da Siria High School in Santiago, on the eve of the presidential election to be held on December 18, 2021.

‘very nervous’

“I am terrified of stomach ache,” voter Carol Bravo, 34, a barista Boric, told AFP ahead of the vote.

“I have discussed this with my friends and we have decided if other candidates [Kast] We will win, we will hit the streets. We fear… but it is or accept our destiny, the fate of disaster and fascism.”

Cast voter Fanny Sierra, 30, who works in human resources, said she would vote against “communism.”

“I think communism is very bad for a country,” she told AFP.

Cast outperformed six other candidates in the first presidential election round in November and took the top spot with 27.9% of the vote.

Borik finished second with 25.8%.

Both candidates have softened their policy proposals to appeal to the people of Chile, who were left without a clear candidate in the first round, splitting the centrist vote, leaving only two antipodes.

“I’m going to vote, but I don’t know for whom” is the lesser evil, said 24-year-old Amazon employee Javiera Otto.

Will Hope or Fear tip the scales?

The “fear, to be honest. There’s no real hope because I don’t like either” candidate.

“I don’t want us to be another Venezuelan … but neither do I want a far-right government.”

will be ‘noise’

Chile has a high abstinence rate, with about 50% of its 15 million eligible voters regularly giving the ballot box a wide berth.

The country is undergoing profound changes after massive voting last year in favor of drafting a new constitution to replace the one created in Pinochet’s years.

This was in response to an anti-inequality social uprising in 2019 that left dozens dead.

The drafting process, in the hands of a largely left-wing body elected in May, should prepare a constitution for approval next year under the supervision of the new president.

Chile's presidential candidate for the Partido Republican Party, José Antonio Cast (R), with his wife María Pia Adriasola, greets his supporters during his closing campaign rally before the President in Araucanos Park, Santiago on December 16, 2021 We do.

Chile’s presidential candidate for the Partido Republican Party, José Antonio Cast (R), with his wife María Pia Adriasola, greets his supporters during his closing campaign rally before the President in Araucanos Park, Santiago on December 16, 2021 We do.

The campaign has been polarised, with a lot of anti-war messages and fake news crimes.

To the detriment of any real policy discussion, analyst Marcelo Malala of the University of Santiago told AFP: “This is a contest focused on defaming the competitor.”

Ending his campaign on Thursday, the father of nine children vowed that “Chile is not, and never will be, a Marxist or communist country.”

For his part, Boric said his rivals would “only bring instability, more hatred and violence.”

New York University analyst Patricio Nava told AFP that further unrest or at least restlessness was likely.

“There’s going to be some noise in the stock markets. [if Boric wins] or in the streets [in the case of Kast],

Whoever emerges victorious will not be easy to govern, with the Congress almost 50-50 split, every policy proposal requiring negotiation, and compromise.

Voting will open at 8:00 am (1100 GMT) and close at 6:00 pm. Results are expected within hours.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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