Presidential elections in Chile: how are they similar to the elections in Peru?

In less than a week, Chile will go to the polls for a first round that seems full of uncertainty. Contrary to past elections, this time the neighboring nation will not choose between two suits delimited from left to right, a ‘rare bird’ that some people resemble Peru.

In recent years, Michelle Bachelet and Sebastián Piñera beat out rivals from the right and left respectively, with two clearly demarcated coalitions. On this occasion, according to the polls, an ultra-conservative outside the establishment and a young leftist will define the contest.

José Antonio Kast of the Republican Party, has established himself as a leader in the polls and has eclipsed Sebastian Sichel Former minister who until now is the standard-bearer of the ruling bloc Chile Podemos Más.

While Gabriel Boric, who could become one of the youngest rulers in the country’s history (36 years), surprised a few months ago when he beat the favorite Daniel Jadue of the Communist Party in the primaries.

According to Cadem Kast’s latest vote estimate, he has 25% support, Boric 19% and surprisingly Franco Parisi 10%, despite having been in the United States for several weeks. Further behind come Yasna Provoste with 9%, Sichel with 8%, Marco Enríquez Ominami with 5% and Eduardo Artés with 2%.

At the beginning of the month, Julieta Suárez Cao, PhD in Political Science and associate professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, told this newspaper that “the election is still quite open and it reminds us a bit of the Peruvian election.”

“Perhaps if there are many candidacies very close to the percentage of votes, it sometimes seems to be a bit random who goes to the second round,” he added.

In this sense, Christian Jaramillo from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru agreed that “there are some similarities” between the elections of both countries, which historically have had a very particular relationship.

He considered that this is due, among other things, to the context that the world is going through and especially the region due to the difficult situation of the pandemic.

Both in chili like in Peru, citizens have spoken out against inequality. The neighboring country is already debating the constituent assembly. Meanwhile, here the ruling party collects signatures for a convocation as soon as possible.

In Peru, the center of politics was blurred. In Chile, polls predict the same thing. Sichel, who denied being from the right and claimed to be from the center, slumped in the polls, while Provoste has failed to climb beyond third place.

“The center has lost a lot of presence because we are in a very extreme context. The pandemic and the future economic crisis will cause parties and candidates to take extreme positions, but that is due to the electoral system, ”said Jaramillo.

The expert indicated that “usually, in the first rounds, the candidacies go to extremes because they point to the electoral niches that they know can get a large number of votes to go to the second round.”

“In the second round, there is considerable moderation,” added Jaramillo. “The candidates are betting more on radical speeches, since that will give them political returns in the future.”

Thus he referred without mentioning the ballot between Pedro Castillo and Keiko Fujimori. In Chile, Kast and Boric.

However, unlike the votes in Peru, the pollsters do not rule out that the ultra-conservative candidate prevails in a hypothetical second round.

On November 5, Cadem showed for the first and last time – the law in chili stipulates that polls cannot be broadcast 15 days before the elections— a victory for Kast in case of going to the second round. It would beat Boric (44% against 40%) and Provoste (42% against 41%).

“It’s not exactly the same axis,” said Cecilia Osorio Gonnet, PhD in Political and Social Sciences, about the comparison between Kast and Fujimori. “Kast is an extreme right associated with the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.”

However, Kast insists that he is not far-right, but maintains his defense of Pinochet. And on this, Jaramillo agreed that they are dissimilar candidates.

But “they share the discourse of animosity for the party system, for a supposed political class,” said Jaramillo. There are similarities, but Keiko Fujimori has more scope in Peru due to all the time he has been in politics. “

Meanwhile, chili it reaches its last days before the first round, as well as Peru, with candidacies that do not reach 30% of popular support.