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Elections in Chile: José Antonio Kast travels to the US and seeks to remove the image of ‘extremist’

José Antonio Kast launched himself fully into the campaign for the second round of the elections in Chile. Determined to seduce the center electorate and win support abroad, the leader of the ultra-conservative Republican Party began a surprise trip to the United States, where he seeks to meet with businessmen and remove the image of “extremist.”

While in Chile he has already begun a series of negotiations with other right-wing parties that, with conditions, expressed their support for the December 19 ballot against the left-wing candidate Gabriel Boric, now Kast is seeking international projection.

According to his command, the winner of the first presidential round (by 27.9% of the votes, against Boric’s 25.8%) will be in Washington Tuesday and Wednesday, where he will maintain a large agenda dedicated to economic and political issues.

This Tuesday a private lunch is planned with representatives of the financial, technological and renewable energy sectors, among others. At that meeting, he will raise the axes of his economic and progress proposal for the country.

As the newspaper recalled Third, the plan that he had presented before the first round of November 21 was harshly questioned by the economic sector that, among other things, stated that its idea of ​​lowering taxes was unfeasible due to the economic situation of the country.

Jose Antonio Kast was open to modifying his government program to attract center-right voters. Photo: AFP

For this reason, last week Kast presented his economic team, in which he included well-known and prestigious names in Chile, such as Sebastián Claro, Patricio Rojas and Sylvia Eyzaguirre, among others, and was open to modifying his government program.

Now, according to his collaborators, Kast will focus on the need to restore public order, strengthen fiscal responsibility and attract investment again.

TV interview

The 55-year-old lawyer, former deputy and father of nine children also has an interview scheduled for CNN Español with the presenter Andrés Oppenheimer, where he will talk about the challenges of his candidacy and for Latin America in general.

He then plans to meet with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, also a tough conservative, to discuss the challenges in Latin America.

On Wednesday, members of his team announced, he will participate in a Round Table with businessmen, academics and opinion leaders at the Inter American Dialogue.

Kast, on a previous visit to Washington in 2008, also met with this important think tank. And to end the day, you will have a meeting with Susan Seagal, President of the Council of Americas.

Makeover

According ThirdKast, who since the campaign has been arguing with the media and analysts who described him as “far-right”, now seeks to “close flanks with respect to his proposals in economic matters and tries to dissipate abroad the image of a” extreme candidate.

The Santiago newspaper added that the trip will be short to avoid questions from the ranks themselves due to the few days remaining for the ballot.

Many in Chile wondered if Kast would take advantage of his trip to meet with Franco Parisi, the presidential candidate of the populist People’s Party who came third in the first round, and who lives in the United States, from where he carried out his entire campaign.

The votes that Parisi won -12.8% – will be crucial to tip the balance to one side or the other in the second round, which for the first time faces two diametrically opposed candidates in Chile, with proposals that come from two extremes.

Kast will be back in Chile on Thursday to start a series of campaign activities, particularly focused on women’s rights and gender proposals, one of the most criticized areas of his program due to his idea of ​​closing the Ministry of Women and his proposal to repeal abortion on three grounds, he noted Third.

The left-wing candidate for the Chilean presidency, Gabriel Boric, has a slight advantage in the polls heading into the ballot.  Photo: AFP

The left-wing candidate for the Chilean presidency, Gabriel Boric, has a slight advantage in the polls heading into the ballot. Photo: AFP

Unfavorable polls

According to the first polls for the second round, Boric surpasses Kast in voting intention, although the atmosphere is still very uncertain.

Boric, 35, a former student leader, heads an alliance that includes the Communist Party, which in Chile is seen as radical left and causes alarm in certain sectors.

The Plaza Pública poll, by the Cadem study center, determined that the leftist leader would win by six percentage points of advantage in the second round, with 39% and 33% support respectively. But the undecided reach 28%.

The poll, for which 1,000 people from all over the country were interviewed, found that almost half of the voters of Boric, of the Frente Amplio, are young people between 18 and 34 years old, especially from high and middle socioeconomic segments, and residents in Santiago.

In the case of Kast, leader of the Republican Party, his voters are mostly men, over 55 and from high sectors, added Cadem, whose poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points and a confidence of 95%.

Source: ANSA and EFE

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