Most presidential candidates competing in the first round spoke soon after it was confirmed they had lost – all except mystery man Franco Parisi, who surprisingly landed in third place last night and only replied via short message on Instagram. President Piñera also spoke and congratulated Gabriel Boric and José Antonio Kast, who won the first round. Although the defeated candidates have effectively checked in, they have not tipped their hands about support for December’s runoff election.
Franco Parisi winning 13 percent of the votes for president wasn’t the only surprise last night. His Party of the People entered the Senate and parliament and has become a new political force to reckon with. Just like during election day, Parisi proved himself a hard-to-reach candidate after the results came in. His only response came through his Instagram account, where he wrote, “Chile spoke. Thanks to the 900,000 Chileans who believed in a way different from the left and right to govern Chile.”
High-ranking members of Parisi’s party responded, like General Secretary Emilio Peña, who told BioBio.cl that “a third most important force in this country is rising, raising a political center determined to strengthen citizenship, social guarantees, rights, and also looking for agreements.” In an interview with El Mercurio, party leader Luis Moreno called the results “excellent.” “People are realizing the real problems that the traditional parties have not wanted to solve during these years,” he added. Parisi’s base might prove decisive in the second round of the elections, but party leaders refused to say whether they will openly express support for one or the other of the candidates remaining, José Antonio Kast or Gabriel Boric.
Read more about the results:
Provoste admits defeat
Yasna Provoste’s candidacy on the center left proved to be a huge disappointment, as she obtained less than 12 percent of the votes and ended the race in fifth place. In her hometown of Vallenar, she thanked her base and called the defeat painful. “The center left is not going to be in the second round; our candidacy in spite of all this effort, did not manage to mobilize enough support to be able to be in a second round. And that is something painful for a political project like ours that has always thought of having an alternative to a neoliberal project,” she said. However, she refused to immediately give her support to the most likely candidate, Boric, and said she will need to reflect on the coming month together with her party.
Another leftwing candidate who has thus far refused to support Boric is far left leader Eduardo Artés, who obtained 1.5 percent of the votes, corresponding to some 100,000 votes. Instead of expressing his support for the leftwing winner, Artés targeted Kast and said his base will work harder to avoid a Kast presidency. “We will not be able to transform the reality of the country if we do not hit the fundamental enemies like fascism, the ultra-right and those who disguise themselves as progressives and leftists, who in short, have humanized Kast so much,” he said. “They are responsible, those who shake Kast’s hand, those who embrace Kast … those who humanize this figure.”
Congratulations from MEO and Piñera
The only leftwing candidate that did openly opt for Boric was Marco Enríquez-Ominami (MEO). MEO, who ran for the fourth time and obtained 7.6 percent of the votes, said Boric must unite the left now. “The extreme right, in general, is not defeated by the extreme left; in general, the extreme right always wins when there is an extreme left. I invite you, congressman Boric, to demonstrate that you can provide governability, I sincerely congratulate you, the people elected you,” MEO said.
President Piñera also came out to congratulate Kast and Boric on their victories in the first round. He said the winners should seek “the paths of peace and not violence, the paths of moderation and not polarization.” The president added, “We know that Chile needs changes, but with freedom, peace, justice, responsibility, order, willingness to dialogue, collaboration and search for agreements. The future President of Chile will have to face enormous and demanding challenges, some of a global nature and others of a national nature.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today.