Will the errors of Chile’s left facilitate a right-wing victory?

If he were still alive, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet might have voted for right-wing candidate Jose Antonio Kast, who seemed intent on provocation with his incessant, belligerent statements during the electoral campaign.

In October 2017, Kast took a shot at former President Salvador Allende, calling him a “dictator,” and absolving the Chilean military of its role in the 1973 coup, which brought down Allende’s government. Throughout the campaign, there was barely a gap of relief for the electorate, particularly the Chilean left.

The people, however, had different ideas. Kast garnered only 7.9 percent of the vote last Sunday, pushing back his pro-military agenda and the more ostentatious claims of removing Allende’s monument and “purging” the presidential palace La Moneda, “for reconciliation and to ensure that history is not written by the left.”

Although Sunday’s electoral results showed the independent right-wing candidate and former President Sebastian Pinera leading at 36.6 percent, the left wasn’t doing badly either, with its candidate Alejandro Guillier at 22.7 percent.

Despite the low voter turnout, Chile’s left also found a reason to celebrate: the newly formed left-leaning Frente Amplio led by Beatriz Sanchez garnered 20.3 percent of the vote. Guillier’s result represented an unexpected surge of the left, even though Pinera was leading in the polls.

Since neither candidate obtained 51 percent of the votes, a run-off election will be held on December 17. If Pinera wins, it will be the second right-wing government for Chile ever since the fall of the dictatorship in 1990.

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