Veteran politician Pablo Longueira won his weakened right-wing bloc's primary election on Sunday, but the former economy minister faces an uphill battle to defeat presidential favorite Michelle Bachelet in November.
Longueira, an industrial civil engineer by training, has said he wants to continue the policies of conservative President Sebastian Pinera, who is barred from seeking a second consecutive term in office.
Analysts say Longueira's candidacy has been hurt by his involvement in Augusto Pinochet's brutal 1973-1990 dictatorship, during which about 3,000 people are thought to have been killed. Longueira rose to become a Housing Ministry advisor under Pinochet, whose daughter has said her father "doted on" Longueira.
Longueira's 21 percent approval rating paled in comparison with the 75 percent that Bachelet captured in a survey conducted by pollster CEP between November and December, which was the most recent such poll.
In fact, none of the right-wing candidates were seen having much of a chance against former center-left president Bachelet, whom voters like for her amiable style and welfare policies.
The campaign would need to see a major game changer for Bachelet to lose in the election on Nov. 17 or in a possible Dec. 15 run-off.
However, if Longueira manages to turn around the race, here are some of his policy proposals, which would need to be approved by Congress:
ECONOMIC, FISCAL POLICIES
- Seeks to continue Pinera's market-friendly economic policies.
- Does not rule out pursuing tax reform. Wants half of the 20 percent corporate tax revenue to go to Chile's regions. The country's far-flung regions have complained of being neglected due to Chile's centralization.
- Encourage investment and keep Chile's robustly growing economy on track.
- Create a regulatory body to prevent "consumer abuse" in education and health.
- Fully finance schooling for the poorest students. He has opposed providing across-the-board free education, arguing that wealthier students should pay tuition.
- Restrict immigration. Longueira has said Chilean jobs are being threatened by workers from Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and other parts of Latin America.
MINING AND ENERGY POLICIES
- Defends the controversial HidroAysen hydropower project, which Bachelet has said is inviable.