Far-right Kast and leftist Boric go to the ballot in Chile

The far-right José Antonio Kast and the left-wing deputy Gabriel Boric will compete for the Presidency of Chile in the ballot on December 19 after obtaining 28.52% and 24.71% of the votes, respectively, according to 58.28% of the counted tables.

It is the first time since the return to democracy in 1990 that the traditional center-left and center-right parties did not go to the second round.

Both have very different programs, which will force Chileans to choose in December between the most left-wing government since Salvador Allende (1970-1973) or the most right-wing since the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990).

Boric, a 35-year-old MP and former student leader who defines himself as an ecologist, feminist and regionalist, wants to expand the role of the state towards a welfare model similar to that of Europe.

For his part, Kast, a 55-year-old Catholic lawyer, seeks to reduce the role of the state, lower taxes, tackle irregular migration with a heavy hand, and ban gay marriage and all forms of abortion.

The controversial libertarian economist Franco Parisi, who resides in the United States and has not even traveled to Chile for the elections, continues to be the surprise of the day, with 13.47% of the votes, according to the latest count.

Parisi thus moves to fourth place the card of the center-left, the Christian Democrat Yasna Provoste (12.2%), and pushes the ruling party and former minister Sebastián Sichel to fifth place (12.08%).

“The center-left is not going to be in the second round and that is painful for a political project like ours that has always thought about how to have an alternative to a neoliberal model,” said Provoste, who left his support for Boric on the air in the ballot.

Who did announce it was the Socialist Party, his coalition partner in the old Concertación. “We call on Chileans not to undermine the threat posed by an option of the extreme right as a possible President in our country,” said its president, Álvaro Elizalde.

Much further behind and with less than 8% of the votes, are the progressive Marco Enríquez-Ominami and Eduardo Artés, from the radical left.