This week’s riots on the second anniversary of Chile’s biggest social uprising disrupted the electoral campaign with a month to go before the first round of the presidential elections.
Seven candidates They seek to replace the conservative Sebastián Piñera, in an open stage.
The polls do not give any candidate the electoral capital to obtain a clear victory on November 21, while they locate the undecided in a range between 16% and 50%.
The Pulso Ciudadano poll, released this week, places 35-year-old Gabriel Boric, a deputy from the Frente Amplio center-left coalition, at the forefront of the list, 21% of the intentions, followed by the far-right lawyer José Antonio Kast (55 years ), of the Republican Party, with 16.3%.
The center-left candidate, Gabriel Boric, after a meeting with supporters this Friday in Santiago de Chile. Photo: REUTERS
Then the only woman in the race appears with 13.1%, the Christian Democrat Yasna Provoste, while the possibilities of the right-wing Sebastián Sichel fade, with only 7.5% of adhesions, who until two weeks ago was the strongest part of the government coalition.
If no candidate reaches an absolute majority (50% + 1) of the votes, any of these four names can go to the second round on December 19.
Who will go to the ballot?
And despite the fact that the polls showed sounded mistakes since 2019, all agree in predicting a final definition with Boric.
“The second round is practically a fact. The uncertainty is in who will go to that second round,” Mauricio Morales, a political analyst at the University of Talca, told AFP.
“It seems clear to me that Boric is going to go to the second round, but I do not rule out that there will be some competition between Provoste and Kast. We will have to see what happens in the next debates and with 16% undecided,” said Javier Couso. , academic from the Diego Portales University (UDP).
The far-right presidential candidate, José Antonio Kast, in a file image. Photo: EFE
The surprising upturn in recent days for Kast, a 55-year-old former deputy who has vindicated the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), coincided with the drop in polls by Sichel, former president of Banco Estado.
Piñera’s candidate is criticism target after he admitted to having withdrawn 10% of his pension fund in the context of the crisis due to the covid-19 pandemic, despite the fact that he was always against the authorization of these withdrawals, something that he considered “a terrible public policy “.
Violence in the streets
Since September 24, when northern Chile was the scene of xenophobic attacks Against Venezuelan migrants, some polls began to show an increase in support for Kast.
His political option was also favored, according to analysts, by the riots that occurred throughout the country on Monday in the framework of the mostly peaceful demonstrations to commemorate the second anniversary of the social outbreak, which left two dead, 56 injured and 450 detained.
Barricades on fire, last Monday in Santiago de Chile, during the marches two years after the social outbreak. Photo: AFP
“Violence will always favor the candidacy that offers order and restitution of the rule of law. In this case, that of José Antonio Kast,” said Mauricio Morales.
“Sometimes fear mobilizes more than hope. For this reason, it is very important to take into account the context in which the elections are taking place, especially in terms of acts of violence,” he added.
On behalf of the government, the undersecretary of the Interior, Juan Francisco Galli, attributed the violent excesses of Monday to Boric and Provoste, for supporting and proposing pardons to protesters who are imprisoned and who “looted, destroyed everything and threw Molotov cocktails” during the revolt of two years ago.
Boric responded that the government “tries to take political advantage of acts of violence instead of fulfilling its role” of maintaining order in the country, while Provoste accused Galli of inventing “a bad excuse to save his presidential candidates.”
“Monday’s protests may influence voters. Most likely next week’s polls will indicate if this is consolidating as a trend,” said Raúl Elgueta, a doctor in political science and academic at the University of Santiago.
In social networks, they have already been done called to return to the streets on Monday 25 October, when two years of the largest protest in the last 30 years of democracy that was registered during the social outbreak are commemorated.