Presidential Elections

Chile’s presidential hopefuls chasing hard votes

The presidential runoff campaigns are intensifying as José Antonio Kast and Gabriel Boric vie for crucial votes. The election is slated for Dec. 19. Both candidates are touring especially areas where they didn’t do well in the first round.

The Republican Party candidate, José Antonio Kast, and Gabriel Boric of left Apruebo Dignidad coalition, are touring Chile to focus on areas where they failed to gain support in the first election round. 

These regions could be decisive to win the runoff on Dec. 19, given the two-percent margin between Kast and Gabriel. The candidates will also try to motivate non-voters.

Boric has asked his campaign manager, Izkia Siches, parliamentarian Karol Cariola and senator-elect Alejandra Sepúlveda to go on several trips across the country. Meanwhile, Kast plans to travel Antofagasta region to persuade those who voted for the People’s Party candidate, Franco Parisi. Kast also plans to visit La Araucanía, where he did exceedingly well.

Boric’s Tour of Hope

For the first round, Boric focused on the young, urban electorate, while Kast targeted the rural vote, winning him the frontrunner status. Boric won a majority in only four of the country’s 16 regions. 

For the second round, Boric is more present in rural areas. His team is preparing two tours, possibly to Biobío region, where he lost to Kast by a wide margin. 

Siches’ first stop on Thursday was the Santiago district of Pudahuel, from where teams will head out to stump for Boric in rural areas. Meanwhile, Boric traveled to Iquique earlier this week. Chile’s north is generally a Kast stronghold, where his anti-immigrant rhetoric is popular. Boric also went to Alto Hospicio, where Parisi won 40.6 percent of the vote while Boric got 13.1 percent. And on Friday, Siches will start touring from Arica.

A second tour, headed by Cariola and Sepúlveda, will get support from a “squad of ambassadors,” comprising actors Mariana Loyola, Héctor Noguera, Daniela Ramírez, Carolina Arredondo, Sigrid Alegría and Paola Volpato. Other squad members are musician Nano Stern and comedian Bombo Fica.

The aim of the tour is to knock on million doors.

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Kast’s Change of Focus

The Kast team is sharpening its focus on Santiago, which mostly went to Boric. Campaigners went to the districts of Maipú, Cerro Navia, Lo Espejo and Providencia.

Over the weekend, the campaign will also chase votes in Iquique and Antofagasta, where Parisi won nearly 34 percent.

Constituents and parliamentarians such as Ruth Hurtado, governor Luciano Rivas, and senators José García Ruminot and Carmen Gloria Aravena will join Kast during the tour. 

After the tour in the north, the next stop will be La Araucanía to thank voters for their overwhelming support. Other tours will be led, for example, by former health undersecretary Paula Daza, who recently resigned from the post to help Kast.

Speculation emerged that Kast was meeting with Parisi during the former’s recent US tour, where he met senator Marco Rubio and executives from corporations that would profit from his planned policies. But Kast told broadcaster TVN that he didn’t meet Parisi. “We come with an agenda that goes beyond political contingency,” he said.

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