Tomas Croqueville/The Santiago Times Staff
With the presidential elections 2017 in Chile approaching, The Santiago Times takes a look at the presidential candidates. Who are these people running for president of Chile? What´s their place in the political spectrum? What parties do they represent?
Read the profiles of the other four presidential candidates here.
Eight candidates are registered for the first round of the presidential election that will be held on the 19th of November.
The number of candidates came through a long rumble with more than 14 candidates (with former president Ricardo Lagos among others), who left the race or could not obtain enough signatures.
The last four candidates the Santiago Times presents are:
The journalist (who was a news anchor in the small TV Station La Red), became the candidate of Democratic Revolution and Autonomist Movement (new left wing parties that were born after the student protests of 6 years ago), after resigning from her job at La Clave radio in March.
After the July primaries she became the nominee of the new political bloc Frente Amplio (a coalition of several left and center left parties and social organizations inspired by their Uruguayan match), that aims to become a new alternative to the traditional political forces that that have alternated the power in the last 27 years: the right (today known as Chile Vamos) and Concertación (today Nueva Mayoría), both described by the candidate as ¨the duopoly¨.
Her candidacy grew progressively in the polls, even tying in some with Senator Alejandro Guillier (Nueva Mayoría), and currently figures in an expectant third place, with wide possibilities to pass the second round against Piñera. This would mean that for the first time a candidate from outside the traditional political blocs would pass to the second round, which would be a political earthquake.
Its government program seeks to collect the opinions of citizens (with some elements that were taken to open voting) and civil society organizations, seeking to impel a ¨society of rights¨; that guarantees free access to Health and Education as fundamental rights. All of this through the formulation of a new constitution by means of a constituent assembly.
José Antonio Kast
The former UDI congressman is running his independent candidacy with a ultra conservative t message, that seeks to appeal the Chilean traditional right wing base. His message can count on the support of the military and sympathizers, including groups in retirement of the Armed Forces, Associations of Widows of Carabineros, besides children and grandchildren of those condemned by human rights violations to evangelicals.
He hopes to get to the second round with Sebastián Piñera, ousting the left and center left candidates, with a strong defensive message of free market economics, small government policies, toughness on crime and a constant promotion of conservative values. Kast going to the second round is seen as unlikely, given the strong political support of the other candidate on the Chilean right wing, the former president Sebastian Piñera.
In his third run as presidential candidate Marco Enríquez-Ominami, known as ME-O, is trying to show a more ¨mature and experienced image¨ than the one he demonstrated in his first candidature in 2009 when he shook the political landscape of Chile running as an independent candidate, with an anti establishment message, getting the 19% of the vote.
This time he is looking to ¨defend¨ the progressive legacy of the President Bachelet, arguing that no one of the current progressives candidates is capable of doing that, by promising a country with economic and social prosperity. Although at some point ME-O led the polls for this election, it suffered a sharp drop in the surveys, largely because of his alleged participation in the SQM scandal, which he has not been able to recover from.
Eduardo Artés is representative and founder of the far-left political party Patriotic Union of Chile (UPA). His candidacy is critical of the existing left wing political blocs, considered them as ¨the left within the system¨, calling his presidential candidacy as a genuine revolutionary leftist choice. According to him, his party offers a unique popular left-wing, anti imperialist and revolutionary alternative that wants to transform the system and create a new institution abolishing the current constitution ( written under the Pinochet-dictatorship) by a constitutional assembly.
His support of the North Korean regime, which he considers a popular democracy, has been under constantly criticized by the press, who point out the contradiction between his emancipators speech and his support for a dictatorship known and condemned internationally for its repression.
The chances of him to winning or pass to the second round are practically none, something that he openly admits, because for him his candidacy is part of a ¨long and revolutionary process¨ that will need time to flourish.