SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean leftist Gabriel Boric has widened his lead in the final polls ahead of the Andean country’s presidential election on Sunday, though the polarized race remains tight against ultra-conservative rival Jose Antonio Kast.

Ahead of the run-off ballot, two private polls seen by Reuters showed 35-year-old former student protest leader Boric edging ahead of Kast, 55, a far-right lawyer who has defended the legacy of military dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Chile, the world’s top copper producer and long a role model of market-oriented economic policy in Latin America, is set for its most divisive presidential ballot in decades, with both candidates from outside the centrist mainstream parties.

A private poll from Cadem, which surveyed 1,007 people with a margin of error of 3.1%, showed Boric taking 55% of the vote versus 45% for Kast, widening his lead over the last week when a similar poll showed him with 52% versus 48% for Kast.

A second poll by consulting firm Atlas Intel, which had shown a draw earlier in the week, now put Boric ahead with 51% voting preferences versus 49% for Kast. The survey included 4,062 people with a margin of error of 1%.

The country is in a two-week blackout period where pollsters cannot openly publish surveys on the vote, but private polls are often commissioned.

The first opinion polls after the Nov. 21 first round vote had favored Boric, though that lead had appeared to be narrowing until the most recent surveys.

(Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Diane Craft)



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