The vote for the Chilean president, the constitution is in jeopardy

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SANTIAGO, Chile – On Sunday the Chileans faced a clear choice between the left and the right as they began to vote in the presidential election, which could potentially create or thwart an attempt to draft a new constitution.

This race, which presented the Chileans with a sharply different view on various issues including the role of the state in the economy, pension reform, the rights of historically marginalized groups and public security, was the most polarizing and severe in the nation in recent history.

Jose Antonio Cost, 55, a far-right former lawmaker who has pledged to fight crime and civil unrest, is facing 35-year-old Gabriel Bori, a left-wing legislator who has proposed raising taxes to combat rooted inequality.

Since Chile is at an important political crossroads, the stakes are higher than in recent presidential contests. The incoming president is deeply shaping the attempt to change Chile’s constitution, which was imposed in 1980 when the country was under military rule. The Chilean people voted overwhelmingly last year to create something new.

The impetus for renewing the charter, driven by waves of protests caused by inequality, the cost of living and Chile’s unfettered market economy in late 2019, led Mr. Borick has been an ardent supporter. .

On the contrary, Mr. Cast campaigned vigorously against the establishment of a constitutional convention, the members of which were Chileans elected in May. The organization is in the process of drafting a new charter that voters will approve or reject in a direct vote next September.

Fearing that he would marshal the resources and the president’s bully preaching to persuade voters to reject the amended constitution, Mr. Conference members see Castin’s uprising as an existential threat to their work.

Patricia Politzer, a conference member from Santiago, said: “There is a lot of money. The president has enormous power and he can use the full support of the state to campaign against the new constitution.”

Mr. Cast and Mr. Borick clashed violently in the final days of the race, each posing the prospect of his loss as a predicted disaster for the South American nation of 19 million people. During the first round of voting last month, Mr. Although Cost received the most votes, Mr. Recent polls suggest that Boric may have a slight presence.

Mr. There is boric He referred to his rival as a fascist He has also attacked several of his plans, including expanding prisons and empowering security forces to further forcibly define tribal challenges to land rights in the south of the country.

He said a boorish presidency would destroy the very foundations on which Chile’s economy is functioning in the region and lead the country on the path to becoming a failed state like Venezuela. Cost told voters.

Claudia Hayes, a professor of political science at the University of Chile, said: “It’s a campaign dominated by fear.

Mr. Borick and Mister. Cast each has seen a drag on voters bored by the center-left and center-right political factions that have traded power in Chile in recent decades. Sebastian Pinera, a Conservative incumbent, has seen his approval ratings fall below 20 percent in the past two years.

Mr. Borick made his political debut in 2011 as the main organizer of large-scale student demonstrations urging the government to provide tuition-free education to low-income students. He was first elected to Congress in 2014.

A native of the Punta Arenas in southern Chile, Mr. The main promise of his campaign was that Borick would take bold steps to prevent global warming. This includes a politically dangerous proposal to raise taxes on fuel.

Mr. who does not like to wear tattoos and tie. Borick spoke publicly about the diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder, which was briefly hospitalized in 2018.

He vowed to transform public policy into a grievance that has been evolving for generations, following occasional violent street demonstrations and political turmoil as subway tariffs were raised in October 2019. He said raising taxes on corporations and Ultrarich was necessary to expand the social security web and create a more egalitarian community. Borick said.

“Today, many seniors work for themselves after a lifetime of spinal work,” he said during the final debate of the race, promising to create a more generous pension system. “That’s unfair.”

Mr. son of German immigrants. Cost, federal legislator from 2002 to 2018. A father of nine, he strongly opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. His national profile soared when he received nearly 8 percent of the vote in the 2017 presidential election.

Mr. Cost called his rival’s proposed irresponsible spending expansion, saying what Chile needed was a much slimmer, more efficient state than an extended support system. During the closing speech of his campaign on Thursday, Mr. Cost warned that choosing his rival would deepen the unrest and provoke violence.

Mr. Cost told a warning story about “poverty that has dragged Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba”. “People are running away from it because it only brings dictatorship, drug dictatorship, poverty and misery,” he said.

The news, the return to the language of the Cold War, sent shockwaves through voters like Claudio Bruce, 55, who lost his job during the epidemics.

“In Chile we can not fall into that kind of political regime because it will be very difficult to recover from it,” he said. “We are at a very dangerous crossroads for our children, for our future.”

Mr. Antonia Vera, a recent high school graduate campaigning for war, said she saw him being chosen as the only way to make the grassroots movement for a just and prosperous nation a reality.

“When he talks about hope, he talks about the long-term future, which started brewing many years ago and exploded in 2019,” he said.

Claudio Fuentes, a professor of political science at the University of Diego Portals in Santiago, said the new president would fight for major changes at any time, citing an equally divided incoming Congress.

“They are less likely to make their campaign plans better,” he said. “It’s hard to push reforms in a situation.”

Pascal Bonaphoy Santiago and Ernesto Landono From Rio de Janeiro.



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