(Bloomberg) — Chilean senate leader Yasna Provoste will run for president this year as her center-left coalition tries to regain control of the government after four years in opposition.
Provoste, who is a member the Christian Democracy party, confirmed her aspirations in a televised speech and via Twitter.
“We have to be able to rebuild after a bad government,” Provoste said, criticizing current president Sebastian Pinera.
Chilean candidates are trying to tap voter rage which exploded in weeks of violent protests in late 2019, and which has led to growing rejection of traditional parties. Provoste, 51, ranked high in presidential polls even before formally launching her candidacy. She forms part of the political alliance that ruled Chile for much of the past three decades.
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Known for being more radical than many in her party, Provoste pressured Pinera for more direct aid to the poor during the coronavirus outbreak. As senate head, she backed proposals to allow Chileans to make early withdrawals from their pension funds to ease the pain cause by last year’s economic downturn.
The Christian Democracy party hasn’t officially announced whether she will compete in a primary vote against Paula Narvaez, a member of the Socialist Party, within the same coalition.
“I am willing to participate in any democratic and open process,” Provoste said in her speech.
Her move comes days after deputy Gabriel Boric scored a surprise win over a more radical contender in a primary election among far-left candidates. Boric could potentially siphon votes from Provoste’s coalition.
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A physical education teacher by training, Provoste was tapped as social development minister by former President Ricardo Lagos and then education minister under his successor, Michelle Bachelet.
Provoste joins a field of candidates that also includes former government minister Sebastian Sichel and former lower house deputy Jose Antonio Kast. The first round of the presidential election will take place Nov. 21, with a possible runoff scheduled for December.
(Updates with quotes from Provoste in 3rd and 7th paragraphs)
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