Friday, June 14, 2024
HomeTopicsElectionsChile: the threat of a far right victory

Chile: the threat of a far right victory

Pinochetista José Antonio Kast is leading in the run-up to 19 December



Chile goes to the polls on 19 December in the second round of its presidential election. In the first round, extreme right-winger José Antonio Kast, of the Republican Party, won 27.9 per cent of the vote. His opponent in the second round will be Gabriel Boric, standing on the new left platform Apruebo Dignidad, who took 25.8 per cent.

José Antonio Kast. Image: Wikimedia, CCO 1
Gabriel Boric. CC BY-SA 4.0

Seven candidates were standing for president. As none secured 50 per cent of the votes, the five lowest are eliminated and the second round contest is between Kast and Boric. The key question is how those who voted for other candidates in the first round will vote on 19 December, and whether significant numbers of the 53 per cent of registered voters who abstained will now decide to cast their ballot.

The advance of Kast is a major shock to Chile. He is well to the right of incumbent president Sebastián Piñera. Kast’s brother Miguel was labour minister and president of the Central Bank of Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship. In November Kast told foreign press correspondents that the Pinochet regime could not be considered a dictatorship comparable to the current Nicaraguan and Venezuelan governments, because Pinochet handed over power peacefully and did not shut down the opposition. He has also indicated support for Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

Results in the elections for deputies and senators, also on 25 November, also marked advances for the right, with the right-wing Chile Podemos Más platform obtaining 53 deputies and Apruebo Dignidad and the centre grouping Nuevo Pacto Social each winning 37 seats. In the Senate, Chile Podemos Más now has 24 seats, two short of a majority, while Nuevo Pacto Social has 18 seats and Apruebo Dignidad 5. If the left wins the presidency in December they will face formidable difficulties to pass legislation through Congress.

UK website Alborada brought together three Chilean experts on 25 November to discuss the current situation. The three (Melany Cruz, Roberto Navarrete and Boris van der Spek) agreed that Boric faces an uphill task to defeat Kast on 19 December. That discussion can be watched here.

This article is funded by readers like you

Only with regular support can we maintain our website, publish LAB books and support campaigns for social justice across Latin America. You can help by becoming a LAB Subscriber or a Friend of LAB. Or you can make a one-off donation. Click the link below to learn about the details.

Support LAB

LAB has translated a text circulating on social media in Chile which details key proposals in Kast’s published electoral programme ‘Atrévete Chile’. Page references are presumably to a summary of the programme, as the full version runs to over 200 pages.

19 December: National Day of Action Against Discrimination and in Support of Human Rights

On 19 December let’s vote against discrimination and in support of human rights:

We say No to every one of the following proposals in Kast’s programme:

  • To force a girl who has been raped to become a mother (p.14)
  • To the repeal of the law which allows abortion on three grounds 1)Chile’s abortion law of 2017 permits abortion only on three grounds (causales): There is risk to the life of the mother; the fetus is unviable; the pregnancy resulted from rape and no more than 12 weeks of gestation have passed (14 weeks in the case of a girl under 14 years of age (p.14)
  • To the pursue and persecute opposition activists throughout Latin America (p.27)
  • To abolish of the Ministry of Women (p.14)
  • To prohibit equality in marriage (p.25)
  • To subsidise only families of married couples (p.33)
  • To give pension increases only to Armed Forces pensioners (p.51)
  • To prevent integrated gender education (p.22)
  • To support the militarization of and use of state violence in Araucanía (p.7)
  • To focus solely on the suppression of delinquency without including adequate policies of re-education (p.8)
  • To increase the budget for the Armed Forces without including adequate financial controls and confronting the extremely high levels of corruption in that sector (p.8).
  • To prioritise the model of the traditional family, excluding all the other multiple forms of family (p.15)
  • To allow the intervention by Christian churches in affairs of state, diluting the boundaries established in every modern state (p.15)
  • To restrict adoption to married, heterosexual couples only (p.17)
  • To require every public school to provide religious education classes (p.25)
  • To perpetuate and reinforce the discredited AFP pension system (p.29)
  • To remove public funding from the Museum of Memory which is fundamental for human rights education (p.29)
  • To rule a tax on the super-rich, thus increasing inequality (p.44)
  • To maintain the privatisation of water instead of treating it as a public asset (p.52)
  • To encourage new hydro-electric schemes at the expense of ecological equilibrium (p.52)
  • To repeal the labour reforms which provide protection for trade unions (p.55)
  • To make employment more precarious, giving employers unrestricted rights to dismiss employees with no protection for workers’ rights (p.56)



1 Chile’s abortion law of 2017 permits abortion only on three grounds (causales): There is risk to the life of the mother; the fetus is unviable; the pregnancy resulted from rape and no more than 12 weeks of gestation have passed (14 weeks in the case of a girl under 14 years of age