In Historic Win, Chile Votes for Socialism Over Fascism

Gabriel Boric defeated José Antonio Kast on Sunday — 56% to 44%.

The Associated Press reports:

A leftist millennial who rose to prominence during anti-government protests was elected Chile’s next president Sunday after a bruising campaign against a free-market firebrand likened to Donald Trump.

Kast recognized defeat and called his opponent to congratulate him on his “grand triumph” as supporters of Boric gathered in downtown Santiago to celebrate.

Chile chose Sunday between two presidential candidates offering starkly contrasting visions for their future — a far-right fascist and a Democratic Socialist candidate to lead the country through constitutional changes amid a widespread clamor for social reform.

After ten hours of voting in 95 degree heat, polls were closed at 6:00 PM (2100 GMT). Voter turnout was higher than the 47 per cent who turned out for the first round of the election last month.

The 19 million-strong country is worried about mass protests following the result of the neck-and–neck race between Jose Antonio Kast (55), the son of a Nazi and Gabriel Boric (35), a former student activist and single, tattooed millennial.

Common Dreams reported Last month:

The two candidates could not be more opposite. Kast, a 55 year-old former congressman. supporter of deceased military dictator Augusto Pinochet — who forcibly imposed neoliberal After Salvador Allende was killed in a bloody U.S.-backed coup, reforms took place. coup on September 11, 1973 — has drawn comparisons to other right-wing dictatorials, including Brazilian President Jairbolsonaro as well as former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kast was a Catholic opponent of abortions and marriage equality throughout his reactionary campaign. vowed to clamp down on migration and crime calling For the construction of a large ditch to discourage would-be immigrants.

In contrast, Congressman Boric rose to prominence in 2011 alongside fellow legislators Giorgio Jackson (and Camila Vallejo) student movement Access to high-quality, free higher education.

The 35-year old progressive has advocated for recovery from the coronavirus crisis that curbs inequality and environmental degradation, with a focus on expanding and improving the Chilean welfare state — underdeveloped and highly privatized since the Pinochet-era interventions of the Chicago Boys, a group of market fundamentalist economists trained by Milton Friedman and others.

…David Adler, general coordinator of Progressive International, which sent Chilean delegations observe the election, warned that Kast’s supporters — taking a page out of “the new authoritarian playbook” deployed by Trump Bolsonaro — have preemptively attacked Chile’s electoral service in an effort “to sow distrust in democratic institutions and pave the way for false claims of fraud” if Boric wins next month.

Voters across the country complained Sunday of a serious shortage in public transportation to take them from their polling stations.

Videos circulating on social media showed long lines at bus stops — in brutal heat — as well as parking lots full of parked buses.

Telesur reported:

Chileans took to social media to voice their concerns about businessmen in Santiago City causing a shortage of transport services. This was to hinder an election in Chile in which Gabriel Boric, leftist presidential candidate is expected to defeat Jose Antonio Kast.

The absence of transportation occurs on a day with temperatures above 96.8°F and mainly affects low-income people who are walking long distances to get to their polling stations. People blame President Sebastian Piñera’s administration for being an accomplice in this attempt to prevent citizens from voting en masse against the neoliberal candidate Kast.

“The government chose the worst path: it boycotts public transport services so that voters from poor neighborhoods do not reach the polling stations,” citizen Pedro Calama tweeted, commenting that the maneuver will only manage to widen the favorable vote to Boric.