The Rise of José Antonio Kast in Chile

By Robert L. Funk

The ultra-conservative figure has surged as an option for voters alienated by the left.

SANTIAGO – When millions of Chileans took to the streets in October 2019, after a small hike in transport fees quickly morphed into a national movement for political change, it seemed that Chile’s populist moment had finally arrived. Alongside protesters’ demands for better healthcare and pensions were sentiments that populists around the world would recognize: A strong current of anti-elitism, demands for institutional change, and a mistrust of existing political parties. Yet one thing seemed to be missing: A strong and personalistic leader who could channel those populist...

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