NATIONAL POLITICS Presidential Elections

Seven months to go: Meet the Presidential Candidates, Part 2

SANTIAGO – Chileans go to the polls twice this year. Mayors, governors, and Constitutional Convention candidates will be elected in May, and the next president in November. Who’s planning to run? In the second part of the series, we present candidates from the opposition. 

The opposition presidential candidates so far are preparing campaigns for the first time but are established political figures. Most of them have taken up demands articulated during the social outbreak that started in Oct. 2019. 

Gabriel Boric – Social Convergence Party – Chile Dignified List

Boric is a former leader of Universidad de Chile’s student federation. In congress he’s currently representing Punta Arenas in Magallanes region.

His campaign is focusing on feminism and social rights, an economic recovery plan that includes a national care system dedicated to youth and low-income citizens. Boric also wants to implement a mental health plan to deal with the pandemic’s consequences like long-term confinement, mourning, or domestic violence. He wants to refound the Carabineros police force as a civilian police that is dedicated to protecting human rights.

On the economics front, Boric proposes redistribution through a tax reform and abolishing the individual savings pension system with support from the No+AFP initiative. He wants to establish a pay-as-you-go system and offer guaranteed pensions that enable a life in dignity.

Boric also wants to finance higher education through public funds, abolish student debt, and reform housing policies. 

Pamela Jiles – Humanist Party – Humanist Party List

The chief and most prominent face to the Humanist Party, Pamela Jiles, represents the districts of La Florida, Puente Alto, Pirque, San José de Maipo, and La Pintana. 

She gained widespread popularity by pushing the 10% pension fund withdrawals.  

Her candidacy is encountering roadblocks, however. So far, her party isn’t registered in all regions, meaning it can’t run presidential candidates. But party officials vowed to resolve the issue, which they deem purely administrative. Jiles has also been ambiguous about running, but is widely expected to throw her hat in the ring.

‘La Abuela’ Rising: From the Small Screen to the Presidential Palace?

Ximena Rincón – Christian Democracy – Constituent Unity List

The Christian Democrats want Ximena Rincón, Senator for El Maule region, to compete for the country’s highest office.

Her slogan “The Revolution of Dignity” captures a cornerstone of her planned campaign. 

Rincón’s proposal focuses on the topics of equality and dignity, security and peace, guaranteed social rights, and economic recovery.

She wants to reform education and health and promote gender and racial equality, improve the judicial system while increasing public security, and refound the security forces.

Her government would also add green areas and cultural spaces and implement a middle class housing plan involving public-private partnerships. The social rights agenda includes compensation for family caregivers, promotes universal internet access, a basic services subsidy for utility bills and a clean cities plan. 

Her recovery plan involves tax reforms and a program to create one million jobs, plus sustainability initiatives. 

Paula Narváez – Socialist Party – Constituent Unity List

Narváez is a protégé of Michelle Bachelet. During Bachelet’s second term, she served as chief-of-staff but left due to pregnancy. Narváez then took posts in international organizations to focus on women’s rights. She only recently returned to Chile to kickstart her presidential campaign.

A cornerstone is the implementation of a universal basic income and signing the Escazú and UN migration agreements. She would also tackle pension, healthcare, and education reforms, and implement an economic recovery plan.

Chile, Narváez said, should “put people first, treat women and men equally in dignity and rights, [and be] a country that makes us proud”. 

Paula Narváez’s Proposals for a ‘New Chile’

Heraldo Muñoz – Party for Democracy – Constituent Unity List

Muñoz is a veteran politician with roots in the opposition to Augusto Pinochet and a key role in the 1989 NO campaign that led to the dictatorship’s end. He also served as foreign minister under Michelle Bachelet.

If elected, he wants to create a democratic, social state. Part of the proposition are universal health insurance, education and pension reforms.

Public security, including the disaster in La Araucanía region, would be handled by a dedicated team and another team would focus on immigration. 

Muñoz has promised to join the Escazú environmental rights agreement and the UN migration pact. Chile played a key role in hammering out both, but the Sebastián Piñera administration then redefined the national interest.

A Muñoz government would install a welfare state with quality public services, decentralization, universal access to housing, and economic recovery and productivity gains brought by local and international investments. 

Daniel Jadue – Communist Party – Chile Dignified List

As mayor of Santiago’s Recoleta district, Daniel Jadue has gained accolades through initiatives like libraries and public pharmacies. The pharmacies were even adopted in other districts and became popular because they are detached from Chile’s cartelized pharmacy market and offer affordable prices.

He also implemented a community development plan called PLADECO and brought the WOMAD Festival, created by Peter Gabriel, to Recoleta.

However, Jadue has also been involved in – but was absolved of – corruption allegations and has been accused of anti-semitism by some in the Jewish community. Being of Arab descent, Jadue is a proponent of Palestinian rights.

The Communist Party ratified his candidacy on Apr. 24. 

Communist Mayor Daniel Jadue Denounces Intimidation

Pablo Vidal – New Deal – Constituent Unity List

The geographer and lawmaker is running for the Liberal Party and the New Deal Collective. He was a student leader at Universidad Católica in 2006 and started his political career in the Democratic Revolution party.

Because of differences he resigned in December and became the leader of New Deal, a left-wing platform. Along with the Liberal Party, Vidal launched his presidential campaign on Apr. 13.

His campaign focuses on uniting the opposition and on a new state to “protect families and avoid abuse in every way.”

Carlos Maldonado – Radical Party – Constituent Unity List

Having gained government experience in Bachelet’s first government, Maldonado’s presidential proposal involves more influence for mayors in policymaking. To increase public security, Maldonado wants to impose tougher policies regarding pre-trial detention, appeals and major crimes sentences.

Other proposals include a tax reform to improve redistribution, ending the current pension system, and “deepening the democratic system and involving the people in the decision-making process.”

Also read:

Seven Months to Go: Meet the Presidential Candidates, Part 1

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