Chile Senate Head Provoste Wins Center-Left Presidential Primary
(Bloomberg) -- Chilean senate President Yasna Provoste won a presidential primary among the country’s traditional center-left parties on Saturday, joining two other main candidates vying for the nation’s top job.
Provoste got 60.5% of support, defeating former government spokeswoman Paula Narvaez with 27% and one-time Justice Minister Carlos Maldonado with 12.4%, according to an official count with 70.2% of voting sites tallied. Provoste will face Gabriel Boric and Sebastian Sichel, both of whom won their respective primaries last month, in the first round of the presidential election Nov. 21.
Turnout was very low, with roughly 150,000 people casting their ballots in the primary, which took place within the center-left coalition that ruled Chile during most of the last three decades. That count falls well short of the total of 3.1 million votes recorded in the July elections that Boric and Sichel won.
Chile’s presidential election remains wide open as lingering social discontent and growing rejection of mainstream parties cloud the outlook.
Investors are paying attention to eventual policy shifts as voters demand a stronger government role in providing social services. That pressure raises odds of greater public spending, potentially moving the country away from pro-market rules that dominated one of Latin America’s richest economies for the past decades.
Provoste, 51, is from the centrist Christian Democracy party, though she is known for being more to the left than many of her party members. As senate head, she backed proposals allowing Chileans to make early withdrawals from their pension funds to ease the pain cause by the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, the senator faces an uphill battle ahead to remain competitive, as polls have shown dwindling support. She was tied in third place with 9% of voter intentions in a poll published Aug. 16 by Cadem, down from 13% two weeks before. Boric had 24% of support and Sichel had 22%.
A Pulso Ciudadano survey released this month showed her also trailing far-right former lower house deputy Jose Antonio Kast.
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