What to know about Chile’s presidential election

Electoral workers on Friday prepare a polling station at a school in Santiago, Chile, for the presidential runoff election Sunday. (Esteban Felix/AP)

Update: Former student activist Gabriel Boric won the Chilean election with 56 percent of the vote in the runoff. Read the latest.

Chilean voters head to the polls Sunday to choose a new leader to succeed outgoing President Sebastián Piñera. The two options before voters might have been unthinkable just a few years ago: A right-wing admirer of the late dictator Augusto Pinochet who has drawn comparisons to former President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and a leftist former student leader who, at 35, could become Chile’s youngest president.

The two men have strikingly different views of the kind of country Chile should be. José Antonio Kast, a former lawmaker from the right-wing Christian Social Front, opposes abortion, is critical of migration and promises law and order.

Gabriel Boric, a lawmaker with the left-wing I Approve Dignity coalition, wants to reform systems that many in Chile believe are the source of inequality in the prosperous South American nation: education, health care and government pensions.

Some see Chile as another country drawn to extremes, with no space for a middle ground. Kast won 28 percent of the vote to lead the first round of the election last month; Boric was second with 26 percent.

This is one of the most tightly disputed elections since Chile became a democracy after the end of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1990.

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