Communist Contender Vaults Atop New Poll of Chile’s Presidential Race

Communist Party hopeful Daniel Jadue has jumped to the top of the latest opinion poll ahead of Chile’s presidential election in November.

About 20% of the people interviewed by Cadem would vote for Jadue, currently the mayor of the Recoleta neighborhood in Santiago, if the election was held this weekend, up from 11% at the end of April. He leaped above right-wing contender Joaquin Lavin, who saw his support rise to 16% from 10%.

The presidential race in Chile, which has the highest credit rating in Latin America, is wide open after elections earlier this month saw a slump in support for parties that have dominated government for the past 30 years. Independents and smaller parties on the far left faired better, leaving a deeply fractured political scene following a wave of protests in late 2019 against inequality.

After the failure of center-left parties to present a credible contender, “Jadue is the most genuine, intense and noteworthy candidate for voters on the left,” said Mauricio Morales, professor of political science at Universidad de Talca.

The surge in support for Jadue underlines the deepening divisions in Chile, which has enjoyed more than 30 years of rapid economic growth, while suffering from entrenched inequalities that have brought many people to question the free-market model.

Jadue will compete in the July 18 presidential primary against Deputy Gabriel Boric to be the candidate for the Frente Amplio left-wing alliance. Boric garnered 5% support in the poll of 1,000 people conducted on May 20. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Lavin also faces competition to be the candidate for the right-wing alliance, with his biggest challenge so far from Sebastian Sichel, who saw his support rise to 11% from 5%.

Other candidates may still appear, even after the primaries. Support for Yasna Provoste, a Senator for the Christian Democratic party, leaped to 13% in the latest poll from 4%, even though she hasn’t declared any bid for the presidency yet.

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