Chile: Pinera takes a small lead, elections head to second round

By Sara Shayanian  |  Nov. 20, 2017 at 9:41 AM
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Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The top two candidates in Chile's presidential election will face off again in December after no outright winner was declared.

Billionaire Sebastian Pinera took nearly 37 percent of the vote, a smaller-than-expected percentage, while his main rival, Alejandro Guillier, took nearly 23 percent.

For an outright victory, more than 50 pecent of the vote must be obtained.

"The immense majority of analysts were sure Pinera would win in the second round; now we are not taking that for granted," Cristobal Bellolio, a professor at the Universidad Adolfo Ibanez School of Government, said.

"What appeared to be a done deal is now 50/50."

Chileans, who came out to vote for a successor to President Michelle Bachelet, will vote again in a run-off on Dec. 17.

Pinera was President of Chile between 2010 and 2014 and ran his campaign in 2017 on promises to boost economic growth and reform the tax code, while Guillier has vowed to carry on the legacy of Bachelet.

Pinera's campaign was boosted by infighting in the center-left coalition with a failure to unite behind a single candidate.

Despite getting a greater percentage of votes than expected, Guillier will need to rally votes from other candidates including Carolina Goic in order to win in December.

However, votes from Beatriz Sanchez and Frente Amplio, who lead a coalition of left and right-wing voters, will provide the decision-making numbers.

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