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This fall, from Chile to Switzerland, the far-right presidential candidate is teasing voters from the left and center.
The lying, moralizing, morally ambiguous right-wing leader for most of the campaign season until Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory outpolled the populist, equally unnerving far-left populist for most of the campaign until the final weekend.
Right-wing candidate Sebastian Pinera lost to Macri by six points. The right-wing candidate will have to lead his party and pass a considerable financial hurdle to win the election.
For nearly eight years now, voters have shifted to the right in South America as it has embraced an old-fashioned corporatist economic model and social conservatism – backed by the Iron Curtain of repressive dictatorships.
But the right-wing Macri appeals equally to the leftists in Latin America, undermining President Donald Trump’s characterization of Democrats in the region as soft on crime and immigration.
Pinera, whose wife is the former Chilean vice president, has resorted to distortion and exaggeration to play on fears about more crime and immigration, especially from poor regions of the Americas. He was the first candidate ever to get a 70 percent approval rating in a poll.
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Pinera has raised millions of dollars in foreign money to underwrite his campaign, if he gets more than 50 percent of the vote he’ll be the winner.
Almost half of Chileans now live in poverty and the country is wealthy, with per capita gross domestic product above $16,000. But the median family income is less than $6,500, a figure that suggests that many families are unable to buy much with little savings. Macri blames the North American world, which controls Chile’s factories, for the wide gap between rich and poor.
Macri is pushing hard to liberalize trade with the United States and Europe but has had trouble getting Congress to pass an orthodox economic policy. His primary government task, after a year in office, was to remove fuel subsidies and lower the Social Security contribution rate.
Pinera has frequently called for a return to a military dictatorship and outrageously compares Pinera to Jorge Chávez, another President of Chile, as he pushes the blame for Chile’s economic problems to its trading partners.
Pinera has lied about his own economic record as a former president, as he seeks to win voters. Last week, he claimed his job growth was responsible for Chile’s extraordinary economic rise from the fiscal crisis of 2008.
Pinera also lied when he promised to prevent remittances from Latin American workers to their countries of origin. These remittances, 40 percent of Chile’s export earnings, go to poor countries where families “live on an absurd rent,” Pinera told the newspaper El Mercurio, when it was denounced for lying about Chile’s economy.
Pinera lied to the nation when he said his wife, former VP Michelle Bachelet, had failed to pay taxes for most of the time they were together in power together, when he was president. Then he dumped her, in a move that ignored her status as the most admired politician in Chile, rather than antagonizing her former supporters.
Comments from Fact Checker fact checkers in Australia, Italy, Turkey, the U.K., Sweden, the United States and beyond were compiled to provide context and offer more background on candidate lies and other post-election comments made by foreign politicians.
Tucker Carlson is one of the best-known political journalists on the right. Read more of his work on FactCheck.com.