Deutsche Welle: Chile to see election runoff; Pinera leads round one20 November 2017 | 04:19 | FOCUS News Agency
With more than 80 percent of votes counted in the first round, Pinera — who led the country from 2010 to 2014 — won 36.67 percent of ballots, while second-place Guillier, a senator and former journalist, had 22.64 percent.
Journalist Beatriz Sanchez, whose party mixes environmentalists and left-wing liberals, came third with 20.36 per cent. The fourth, among a total of eight candidates, was right-winger Jose Antonio Kast with 7.88 per cent.
Full results were expected later on Sunday.
Runoff next month
With no candidate reaching the 50 percent of votes required to win outright, the runoff election to decide who will succeed socialist leader Michelle Bachelet as president, will be held December 17.
The winner is due to take office in March next year.
Read more: Farewell to the last female president in the Americas
Still favorite is Harvard-educated billionaire Pinera, who is proposing to cut taxes on businesses to promote growth and resuscitate the flagging economy. The backbone of the Chilean economy is copper production and the country has been hurt by falling demand and lower international prices.
His second-round opponent, Alejandro Guillier, is a former TV anchor who is standing as an independent with the backing of Bachelet's socialists. But five other leftist candidates have weakened his support somewhat.
Pinera comes up short
Pinera’s support in the first round was less than most pollsters had predicted, indicating that next month’s runoff may be a closely-fought contest.
In a poll released a month before Sunday's election, the billionaire had been forecast to secure 42 percent of votes in the first round and easily defeat Guillier in the runoff.
While investors see Pinera as a safe pair hands for the economy, his response to massive student protests seeking an education overhaul during his first term in office weakened his support.
If he can win the backing of his five left-leaning rivals from the first round, Guillier could easily overtake Pinera in round two, some analysts have predicted.
In the run-off, analysts say many voters will want reassurance that many of the gains made in Bachelet's government for students, women and workers — from expanding free education to strengthening unions — won't be undone.
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