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  • Senator Alejandro Guillier is seen inside the Chilean Congress in Valparaiso, Chile, Sept. 27, 2016.

    Senator Alejandro Guillier is seen inside the Chilean Congress in Valparaiso, Chile, Sept. 27, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 November 2016

Guillier could go head to head with Chile's right-wing former president in the next presidential election in 2017.

Support is growing for an independent, left-leaning senator to run for president in Chile during the next 2017 election, according to a poll released on Thursday.

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The GfK Adimark poll showed rapidly increasing support for Alejandro Guillier, a journalist turned anti-establishment senator who relatively unknown just a few months ago.

When asked who they would choose as president if elections were held this week, 15 percent of 1,056 Chileans surveyed chose Guillier, up from 5 percent in August.

Guillier, 63, is growing support compared to Sebastian Pinera, the highest polled with 20 percent of support. The center-right Pinera led the country from 2010 to 2014 and is the favorite to secure the opposition right-wing coalition ticket in November 2017.

Support for Ricardo Lagos, a moderate leftist who led Chile from 2000 to 2006, remains low at 5 percent. His campaign received a boost over the weekend when Isabel Allende, seen as a key rival to represent the governing coalition, said she would not run.

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Chileans have criticized President Michelle Bachelet's government following a series of high-profile corruption scandals and weak economic growth. Bachelet's coalition was punished in recent local elections, and abstention was high.

According to polls, Guillier scores highly on the trust factor during a period in which Chileans have become disillusioned with mainstream politics.

He left journalism for politics in 2013 and has painted himself as a change from the status quo and a "transition" toward the next generation.

The GfK Adimark poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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