Chile Presidential Favorites Open to Dialogue on Economic Plans
(Bloomberg) -- Chile’s presidential front-runners, leftist Gabriel Boric and conservative Jose Antonio Kast, said they’re open to negotiating parts of their economic programs in remarks made at the last televised debate before elections.
“We are willing to discuss some of the points in our program,” Boric said on Monday night, pointing out that his tax reform plans cause uncertainty among investors. “We will discuss with all sectors the details of our proposals.”
Boric, who is competing in alliance with the Communist Party, has promised to dismantle Chile’s “neoliberal” economic model, raise the minimum wage, increase corporate taxes and replace the current private pension system for a state-run one. By contrast, Kast pledges to cut corporate and wealth taxes, slash fiscal spending and impose tougher immigration policies.
“If congress does not authorize decreasing corporate tax to 17% from 27%, we will do it gradually, step by step,” Kast said, adding that his program is not set in stone and that some points can be modified.
Chileans will head to the polls on Sunday to choose between seven candidates running for the nation’s top job. Boric and Kast, who come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, are seen with the best chances of making it to the runoff set for Dec. 19
Read more: For Bond Traders, Congress Is Key in Chile’s Polarized Elections
More moderate alternatives have fallen behind. Both Christian Democrat Senator Yasna Provoste, running for a center-left coalition, and Sebastian Sichel, representing continuity with current President Sebastian Pinera, are backed by the traditional parties that have ruled Chile for the past three decades.
Here are other key debate insights:
- “Stability today implies gradual changes, step by step, so that things don’t get out of hand”
- “We are interested in growth, but it’s not possible to grow in a socially fractured nation”
- On Nicaragua and Venezuela: “Democracy must be defended independently of the political color of those who govern”
- “Investment is lured, above all, with clear rules and public order”
- On massive protests: “If those who gather do not comply with the law, and do not ask for permission, then they cannot go on with the protest”
- On pension system: “I do not agree with the state taking over the system, expropriating people’s future savings”
- Chileans will be able to choose who manages their retirement savings
- “I will have the courage to imprison those who do not comply with the law, who burn, who loot”
- “Our program is serious and financed”
- Promoting labor unions in Chile is her economic proposal that scares investors the most, she said
- On barricades during protests: “There will be no space to endorse situations of violence in our country”
Candidates Marco Enriquez-Ominami and Eduardo Artes also participated in the debate
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