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Conservative Former President Pinera wins Chile Election by Wide Margin
Source: www.thestar.com
Source Date: Sunday, December 17, 2017
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Chile
Created: Dec 18, 2017

SANTIAGO, CHILE—Billionaire former president Sebastian Pinera easily won Chile’s presidential runoff election Sunday, moving the world’s top copper-producing country back to the right in the footsteps of other Latin American nations.

Pinera got 54.6 per cent of the votes to 45.4 per cent for centre-left Sen. Alejandro Guillier, with nearly all the ballots counted.

Analysts had expected a much closer race, but there had not been any opinion polls on the campaign for several weeks. Guillier conceded a “severe defeat” to his supporters, and outgoing President Michelle Bachelet called Pinera to offer congratulations.

The results prompted Pinera supporters to celebrate in streets nationwide, waving flags and holding banners while others beeped car horns and screamed out the last name of the former airline magnate who previously governed Chile from 2010 to 2014.

“Today, the voice of all Chileans has been heard,” Pinera told supporters. “We welcome this triumph with humility and hope.”

Pinera, 68, won last month’s first round, but his 36.6 per cent vote share fell far short of what polls had projected. Guillier got 22.7 per cent in the first round and was counting on support from backers of other left-leaning candidates who were eliminated.

Guillier, 64, was backed by Bachelet, but many Chileans have been disillusioned by lagging economic growth under her watch, a problem based largely on lower international prices for copper, which is the backbone of Chile’s economy. Many also feel she wavered on her promises of profound social changes in labour and education and the vote was largely seen as a referendum on her policies.

(By EVA VERGARA)
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