The vote for the extreme right in Chile is “the signal for a return to order”

An apparent big gap: Chile placed at the head of the first round of the presidential election, Sunday, November 21, the far-right candidate José Antonio Kast (27.9%), admirer of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and opposed to the drafting of a new constitution. However, a year earlier, in October 2020, 78% of Chileans had voted in a referendum for the development of a new text intended to bury the current fundamental law, inherited from the dictatorship. In May 2021, a Constituent Assembly clearly marked on the left had even been appointed.

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Stéphanie Alenda, sociologist at Andrés Bello University in Santiago, returns to The world So “Paradox” that characterizes the countryside. On December 19, Mr. Kast will face in the second round the deputy and former student leader Gabriel Boric (left, 25.8% in the first round).

How to explain the score of the extreme right, against the tide of the changes induced by the social movement against inequalities of 2019?

We can explain this paradox by a sort of signal of return to order, by drawing a parallel with France and the events of May 1968, followed by the election of the right. Regarding the 2019 social revolt, small traders located in the protest area of ​​Santiago, for whom the mobilization had negative economic repercussions, have, for example, begun to have media visibility. Part of public opinion is much more critical of the mobilization [qui se poursuit, dans une moindre mesure, tous les vendredis] and less tolerant of the violence it may have generated.

However, the question of maintaining order and respecting the rule of law is central to José Antonio Kast’s speech, with the feeling that the country is not bound. The same goes for the violent incidents that took place in southern Chile, around the Mapuche conflict. [population indigène qui réclame la restitution des terres ancestrales], partly infiltrated by armed groups. It was in this region that José Antonio Kast won the most votes.

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The theme of order has come to the forefront of the debate so much that the left-wing candidate, Gabriel Boric, is taking over, in the interval between the two rounds, this security agenda, by putting the focus on victims of delinquency. At the same time, there is also a certain loss of confidence of the population in the Constituent Assembly, fueled by internal quarrels during the adoption of its regulations. Chileans doubt its ability to improve the country’s situation. The economic context marked by inflation also explains the result of the first round: José Antonio Kast has had some success with the most vulnerable socio-economic groups.

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The vote for the extreme right in Chile is “the signal for a return to order”

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