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Chile presidential election pits right-winger against student leader

Chile votes this Sunday on its future president, choosing between the right-wing politician Jose Antonio Kast and the former student leader Gabriel Boric.

Chile votes this Sunday on its future president, choosing between the right-wing politician Jose Antonio Kast and the former student leader Gabriel Boric.

The run-off election will decide whether Chile will stick to the course set after the student protests two years ago – breaking with the legacy of the Pinochet dictatorship and moving away from the neoliberal economic model – or whether the process of social opening will be stopped.

Boric, who is only 35 years old, wants a publicly funded education system, better health care and is committed to the rights of migrants, indigenous people and homosexuals.

Kast, on the other hand, a father of nine and a devout Catholic, promises tax cuts, a border wall against illegal immigration and a firm hand against criminals.

For a long time, Chile was considered a shining example in a region marked by poverty, violence and political unrest. The country has the highest per capita income in South America, and poverty has been significantly reduced in recent decades.

But the model country also suffers from great social inequality. Large parts of the health and education systems have been privatized, and more and more people feel left behind.

Polling stations open at 8 am and close at 6 pm (1100 – 2100 GMT). First results are expected early on Monday morning.

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