Chile to hold presidential runoff next month

Chile will hold a presidential runoff next month between the leader of a rightist party and a leftist lawmaker as no candidates secured a majority in Sunday's election.

Seven candidates ran in the election that was held because President Sebastian Pinera will leave office at the end of his term.

With 95 percent of the votes counted, 55-year-old Jose Antonio Kast, the leader of a rightist party and a former lower house member, had secured 27 percent of the ballots. Gabriel Boric, 35, a leftist congressman and a former student protest leader, garnered 25 percent. The runoff is scheduled for December 19th.

Social disparities and how to deal with migrants are among the key issues in the election.

Kast is calling for tightening controls on migrants and improving security, while Boric is seeking higher taxes for the wealthy and boosting social welfare.

The two candidates managed to broaden their support, but more moderate, centrist candidates did not gain votes.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is another focal issue of the presidential election. A total of 11 countries, including Japan and Chile, are joining the accord. Boric is taking a cautious position on ratifying the agreement, saying its impact on people's daily lives has not been sufficiently discussed.