Analysis | Why Chile’s Presidential Vote Comes at a Crazy Time

Polls show the top contenders to be Gabriel Boric, a 35-year-old leftist former student leader, and Jose Antonio Kast, a 55-year-old conservative former lawmaker. Boric, who is allied with Chile’s Communist Party, wants to do away with the nation’s market-based neoliberal model. He proposes to raise the minimum wage, as well as corporate and wealth taxes, to cut the maximum work week to 40 hours from 45, introduce workers’ participation in companies’ boards, and to create a new national development bank. Meanwhile, Kast’s plan is broadly based on increasing investment incentives. He pledges cutting corporate and wealth taxes, reducing public spending, and suggested he would sell a stake in state-owned copper miner Codelco. Boric aims to make abortion free and widely available and supports a program of LGBTQ rights to end discrimination. In contrast, Kast opposes same-sex marriages and abortion, and promises to crack down on illegal immigration. Trailing in polls are candidates from the political parties that have dominated the scene for the last 30 years: Yasna Provoste, a senator from the Christian Democrat party, is running for a coalition from the center-left, made up of parties that helped unseat Pinochet. Sebastian Sichel represents the parties that back the incumbent president, Sebastian Pinera.

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