The far-right candidate José Antonio Kast won 28% of the vote in Chile’s election on Sunday and missed the 50% needed to avoid a runoff.
Custer’s recent surge in popularity has surprised critics. He is sometimes compared to former U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazil’s current President Jal Bolsonaro.
He will face the 35-year-old left-wing candidate and former student leader Gabriel Boric, who ranked second with 25% of the vote.
Representing the polarization of the Chilean presidential campaign, Borik and Custer are now heading to the final election on December 19 to vote.
The election was held two years after mass protests and riots rocked the country in October 2019. The protesters demanded better pensions, better education, and the end of what they said was an economic system that favored the elite.
The riots led to the outgoing President Sebastian Pinera agreeing to a referendum on the need to amend the constitution inherited from the dictatorship-a year later, the Chileans voted by an overwhelming majority to draft a new constitution .
But Chile has still not recovered the stability it once was known for. It has been hit hard by the pandemic economically, and brutal clashes between protesters and security forces continue in Santiago every week.
Considering the recent past, Borik is widely regarded as a presidential candidate who is more representative of the country’s social movements. He is a supporter of abortion rights, the welfare state model, and leads a broad alliance including the Chilean Communist Party.
However, in the eyes of some voters, the strong support for Custer, which represents stability and security, has overturned the prediction of the game. Custer emphasized the rule of law, private property, and a free market economy, and even proposed to build a three-meter-long trench at a strategic point on the northern border of Chile to prevent the flow of immigrants from other countries.
In a speech to the nation on Sunday, the outgoing President Pinera congratulated the two candidates.
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