Outsiders take early lead in Chilean presidential elections

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Two outside candidates from opposite extremes of the political spectrum seems to be headed for a drain in Chilean presidential election after bruises campaign that was deeply exposed social tensions in the regionthe most economically advanced country.

met almost half of report polling stations results, far-right legislator José Antonio Kast had 29% support compared met 24% for former student protest leader Gabriel Boric. A candidate who ran virtually from the US without taking a step in Chile led it peloton of five other candidates are way behind behind.

If no candidate achieves a 50% majority, the top two finishers will: compete in a discharge on December 19.

Pre-election polls point to a high number of undecided voters, but have always preferred Boric and Kast. Also up for grabs is Chili’s entire 155 seats lower house of Congress and over half the Senate.

Boric, 35, would become Chile’s youngest modern president. He was one of many student activists elected to the congress in 2014 after leading protests for higher quality education. Run like the head of a broad alliance die the Communist Party of Chile includes, if elected he says he will raise taxes on the “super rich” to expand social services and boost protections of the environment.

He is also sworn to eliminate the country private pension system — one of the quality marks of the free one market reforms imposed in the 1980s by the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

Kast, 55, of the newly formed Republican Party, emerged from the far-right fringe after he… won less than 8% of the vote in 2017 as self-employed. But he’s been steady rising in the polls this time with a divisive discourse met the emphasis on conservative family values ​​and attacking migrants – many from Haiti and Venezuela – he blames for crime.

A staunch Roman Catholic and father of nine, Closet has also targeting outgoing president Sebastian Pinera for allegedly betraying the economic legacy of pinochet, die his is brother helped implement as the central dictator of the dictator bank president.

Sebastian Sichel, a centre-right candidate who took about 12% of the vote, was it first among the losing candidates to position themselves in which will probably be a heated runoff, and telling the supporters that he in no case would do vote for “the candidate from the left”, a reference to Boric.

Who wins will take over a country in the handles of big change but uncertain of to be future of course after decades of centrist reforms die largely left pristine economy of Pinochet model.

The turnout turned out to be tough on Sunday, with multiple polling stations remain open after 6pm to accommodate late voters in line.

“There are more people than others times because we are all tired of this,” said 55-year-old Marie Arias, who waited in a long line around vote.

Teresa Mardones, 60, said she voted most of the time for the left, “but the uncertainty die Chili experience forced me to vote for Closet.”

But Francisco Venegas, 50, said he was gone for Boric because “we have to change everything and a risk.”

Pineras decision to walk metro fares in 2019 led to months of mass protests die quickly culminated in a rural scream for more accessible public services and exposed the crumbling foundations of Chile’s “economic” miracle.”

Seriously weakened by the unrest, Pinera . voted met reluctantly in met a plebiscite on rewriting the Pinochet-era constitution. In May, the meeting brought in account with drafting the new magna carta wax elected and is expected to be work some time next year.

In the meantime, in a fresh sign of the tensions die Pinera will leave behind, the billionaire president was impeached in the lower house before evading Senate removal over an offshore business agreement in which are family sold his stake ten years ago in a mining project while he was serving first of two non-consecutive terms.

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Goodman reported from Miami

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