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News > Latin America

Center-Left Candidate Narrows Gap with Piñera for Presidential Bid

  • Presidential candidate Alejandro Guiller during a televised debate on Friday 20, Oct. 2017.

    Presidential candidate Alejandro Guiller during a televised debate on Friday 20, Oct. 2017. | Photo: EFE

Published 22 October 2017

Political candidates in Chile have begun their electoral campaigns ahead of the Nov. 19 presidential and legislative elections.

Only one month ahead of Chile's general elections, a new poll released on Sunday found that the candidate for the governing progressive coalition was narrowing the gap with the conservative candidate.

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According to Plaza Pública Cadem, former President Sebastian Piñera, leading the Chile Vamos coalition, lost one percentage point with now 42 percent of voting intentions in the first round, followed by Alejandro Guiller for New Majority with 21 percent — one more point in one week — and Beatriz Sanchez with 13 percent.

However, the gap between the two frontrunners was reduced to only 5 percentage points in the case of a run-off vote between Piñera and Guillem, with respectively 42 and 47 percent of support, according to the same survey, instead of 51 to 36 percent the week before.

Chile's eight presidential candidates had 20 minutes of airtime Friday night to present their campaign platforms in what is known as the "electoral slot" in the country's radio and television stations.

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Predicting electoral results in Chile is difficult since roughly 60 percent of people who can vote don’t participate in elections.

One of the main issues that will dominate this election will be the possibility of calling for a constituent assembly to change the Constitution, which was created in 1980 and approved in 1981 under the military regime of Augusto Pinochet.

Other candidates include Beatriz Sanchez of the leftist Broad Front, Carolina Goic of the centrist Christian Democracy Party and Jose Antonio Kast, a far right-wing independent.

Since the military dictatorship ended in 1990, the country's center-left parties have won the past four elections. The right wing and centrists only won once, when Piñera received a majority of votes in 2010.

The campaign is set to end on Nov. 16.

President Michelle Bachelet has said she will not run again, as this is her second term.  

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