The runoff between the left-wing and far-right frontrunners is expected, but not given.
Antofagasta, Chile- Chile began to vote for a new president in a key election, which will determine governance in the post-crisis transition period.
Voting starts at 8 am (11:00 GMT) and is scheduled to end at 6 pm (21:00 GMT) on Sunday.
Seven presidential candidates are on the ballot. The results are expected to be held later on Sunday, and the winner will hold a referendum on a new constitution currently written by elected representatives of citizens.
During the outbreak of social unrest that began two years ago, the Constituent Assembly was a concession to mass protests against structural inequality.
Gabriel Boric, a 35-year-old congressman and former leader of the student movement, represents the left-wing Apruebo Dignidad coalition, while a 55-year-old lawyer and former congressman Jose Antonio Kast Is a far-right candidate for Christians. Social Front Alliance.
Sebastian Sichel is a former official in the government of the outgoing President Sebastian Pinera. He is from the center-right ruling coalition and represents a senator from a center-left party. Yasna Provoste, along with three other candidates, lags behind Boric and Castell by a clear advantage. .
No candidate is expected to obtain an absolute majority. The top two competitors will face each other in the final on December 19.
The president-elect will take office March 11, 2022 for a four-year term.
“There will be a need to support this transition and this new constitution,” said Federica Sanchez Staniak, professor of political science at Alberto University of Santiago and member of the Red de Politologas Network of Women Political Scientists. ) Say.
Voters also elected all 155 members of the lower house of Congress, 27 of the 50 senators, and representatives of the regional councils for a term of four years.
The street in front of the local school used as a polling station is closed to traffic, but few people vote in the first hour of voting.
Many people choose to wait because if the volunteer registered at the polling station does not show up, the first voter must take their place on the day, and only the elderly can opt out.
Gloria Alliu, 57, is a partial owner of a bakery. She plans to vote later in the day, but she still cannot be 100% sure which presidential candidate she will choose.
“A lot of people are hesitant,” Aliu told Al Jazeera. “No one candidate can cover all my interests.”
Alliu said that equality, poverty, employment and people’s rights are all important to her, and she will discuss with others today and make up her mind.
“No one is really sure what the result will be,” Sanchez Staniak said. “It’s hard to predict.”
Sanchez Staniak said that the December runoff between Boric and Castel seems to be the most likely outcome, but there is always the possibility of surprises.
She pointed out that opinion polls have been under scrutiny, and Custer performed poorly in the last debate.
“I think the turnout rate is likely to be average,” Sanchez Stagnac added. He predicted that the turnout rate will be between 43% and 48%, just like the first two rounds of presidential elections in the past, since the mandatory Since the vote was cancelled.
“The general behavior of Chilean voters has no results.”