Chile Set To Elect President Ahead Of New Constitution

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Two years after deadly protests that paved the way for Chile to finally shed its dictatorship-era constitution, elections take place Sunday for a new president to take over in a fast-changing political landscape.

Just months after a poll to select a constitution-drafting body saw voters massively reject traditional political parties in charge since democracy dawned 31 years ago, there are now seven candidates to replace the unpopular President Sebastian Pinera.

The contenders cover the entire political spectrum from left to right, with centrists proving the least popular in opinion polls that also revealed half of the 15 million eligible voters to be undecided.

The favorites are Gabriel Boric, 35, of the leftist Approve Dignity alliance which includes the Communist Party, and far-right candidate Jose Antonio Kast, 55, of the Republican Party — each with about a quarter of stated voter intention.

“I have not felt such uncertainty since the 1988 referendum” that ended dictator Augusto Pinochet’s 16-year reign, said Silvia Gutierrez, a 60-year-old nurse from Santiago.

Her family, which had traditionally voted for the same center-left coalition, is “now divided; some on the right, some on the left,” she told AFP.

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