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Chile: Conservative Pinera Wins Runoff Election

folder_openLatin America access_time8 months ago
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Local Editor

Chilean billionaire Sebastian Pinera will return to power as Chile's president next year, according to virtually complete results from a runoff election that was held Sunday.

Pinera

Electoral authorities said the 68-year-old conservative, who previously led the South American nation from 2010-2014, had 55 percent of the vote, with 98 percent of ballots counted.

His leftist rival Alejandro Guillier, a 64-year-old TV presenter turned senator who ran as an independent candidate backed by outgoing center-left President Michelle Bachelet, conceded after receiving 45 percent.

"We have suffered a tough defeat," Guillier said. He called for the opposition to "defend" reforms started under Bachelet.

He said Pinera walked away with "a solid and impeccable triumph."

Pinera will lead the country -- the world's top copper producer -- for four years starting in March 2018.

He will once again take over from Bachelet, who was barred by the constitution from running for re-election.

Bachelet and Pinera have tag-teamed the presidency since Bachelet first took office in 2006. Since then, they have alternated in power, switching Chile's politics between center-left and center-right each time.

Pinera supporters were gathered outside his election headquarters in anticipation of his victory speech.

The outcome of the runoff had been far from certain after Pinera scored a much lower than expected 37 percent in the first round of the election held November 19.

Voting took place under a somber cloud Sunday, following the deaths of 11 people and the disappearance of 15 others in a mudslide in a southern town.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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