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Chile: Sebastián Piñera wins presidential vote Chile: Sebastián Piñera wins presidential vote
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  [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800"]<img src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Sebastianwsws.jpg/800px-Sebastianwsws.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="500" /> <strong>Sebastián Piñera election as president marks Chile new swing to the right. Credit: <a href="http://www.concierto.cl/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/sebastian.jpg">Concierto</a> [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons</strong>[/caption]&nbsp;
The Conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera looked set for a return to office after he secured a comfortable lead over his<span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;"> centre-left opponent Alejandro Guillier, who conceded the election</span> in <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/chile-votes-in-tightly-contested-presidential-race/a-41827339">Chile's presidential runoff vote</a> on Sunday. The electoral results push<span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;"> </span><a class="u-underline" style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;" href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/chile">Chile</a> politically towards the right, following other neighbouring nations like Argentina.  The Conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera looked set for a return to office after he secured a comfortable lead on his centre-left opponent Alejandro Guillier conceding the election in <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/chile-votes-in-tightly-contested-presidential-race/a-41827339">Chile's presidential runoff vote</a> on Sunday. The electoral results push <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/17/chileans-cast-their-ballot-in-decisive-presidential-runoff">Chile</a> politically towards the right, as followed by other neighbouring nations like Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
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<div>The former president, <span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;">68, </span>had claimed 54.57 percent of the vote <span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;"> in the runoff election</span>, <span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;">to 45.43% for senator Guillier,</span> according to the electoral agency. This was<span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;"> a wider than expected margin in a race that pollsters had predicted would be tight.</span></div>  
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  The former president, 68, had claimed 54.57 percent of the vote in the runoff election, to 45.43% for senator Guillier according to the electoral agency which is a wider than expected margin in a race that pollsters had predicted would be tight.
Months of campaigning exposed deepening rifts among the country’s once bedrock centre left, an opening former president Piñera leveraged to rally more centrist voters around his proposals to cut corporate taxes, double economic growth and eliminate poverty in the world’s top copper producer. Months of campaigning exposed deepening rifts among the country’s once bedrock centre left, an opening former president Piñera leveraged to rally more centrist voters around his proposals to cut corporate taxes, double economic growth and eliminate poverty in the world’s top copper producer.
His opponent, senator and former journalist Alejandro Guillier congratulated Piñera and conceded the election shortly after the initial results. In his concession speech at a hotel in downtown Santiago, Guillier called his loss a “harsh defeat” and urged his supporters to defend the progressive reforms of outgoing <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/chiles-president-bachelet-pushes-to-decriminalize-abortion/a-18228379">President Michelle Bachelet</a>’s second term. Many Chileans had viewed the election as a referendum on her policies, which focused on reducing inequality by making education more affordable and overhauling the tax code.  
Piñera, who ran the country between 2010 and 2014, will succeed outgoing President Bachelet, who steps down in March.  
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<div class="rich-link__read-more"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 1.6rem;">Piñera’s supporters cheered the news at his campaign headquarters as the results were swiftly tabulated on a hot and sunny evening in Santiago.</span></div>  
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  His opponent, senator and former journalist Alejandro Guillier congratulated Piñera and conceded the election shortly after the initial results. In his concession speech at a hotel in downtown Santiago, Guillier called his loss a “<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-chile-election/chiles-pinera-wins-presidency-as-opponent-concedes-idUSKBN1EB07K?il=0">harsh defeat</a>” and urged his supporters to defend the progressive reforms of outgoing <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/chiles-president-bachelet-pushes-to-decriminalize-abortion/a-18228379">President Michelle Bachelet</a>’s second term. Many Chileans had viewed the election as a referendum on her policies, which focused on reducing inequality by making education more affordable and overhauling the tax code
  A Harvard-educated businessman who make a great fortune due to his involvement in introducing credit cards to Chile in the late 1970s and his subsequent investments, mainly in LAN Airlines stock attempt to exploit the <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/anger-rising-over-chiles-private-pensions/a-36273424">broad discontent</a> with the outgoing Bachelet's presidency, who struggled to fulfill campaign promises <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/asiganachile-student-led-resistance-demand-free-education-in-chile/a-39388503">to reform labor and education</a> in the country and will end in March.
</aside>Though neither candidate would have marked a dramatic shift from Chile’s longstanding free-market economic model, a conservative victory underscores an increasing tilt to the right in South America following the rise of conservative leaders in Peru, Argentina and Brazil.  Though neither candidate would have marked a dramatic shift from Chile’s free-market economic model, which has remain unchanged since Pinochet's dicatorship in the 70s. A conservative victory underscores an increasing tilt to the right in South America following the rise of conservative leaders in Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
Piñera painted Guillier, a former TV anchorman and current senator, as extreme in a country known for its moderation, and likened him to Venezuela's socialist President Nicolás Maduro. But Piñera’s own conservative agenda may also struggle, at a time when efforts by his ideological allies in Brazil and Argentina to reduce fiscal deficits by cutting spending have faced political opposition and sparked protests.  
The investor favourite, Piñera’s proposals are seen as miner-friendly in a country where <a class="u-underline" href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/feb/28/copper-price-rise-chile-earthquake">copper is king</a>. He has pledged support and stable funding for Chile’s state-run miner Codelco, and has promised to slash red tape which had bogged down projects under Bachelet. After a leftist party made unexpected gains in November’s first round, Piñera sought to woo less well-off voters with proposals such as the creation of a public pension fund to compete with Chile’s <a class="u-underline" href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/22/thousands-protest-in-chile-against-state-pension-provisions">criticised private pension funds</a>, and the expansion of free education.  
The race marks a turning point for Chile’s historic coalition of centre-left parties, previously known as the <em><a class="u-underline" href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/18/chile-election-young-vote-for-radical-change">Concertación</a></em>. The pact fissured under Bachelet, riven by disagreements over policies such as loosening <a class="u-underline" href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/20/chiles-abortion-reform-ruling-coalition-split">Chile’s strict abortion laws</a> and strengthening unions.  
Piñera seized on the backlash, campaigning on a platform of scaling back and “perfecting” her tax and labour laws, seen by many in the business community as crimping investment at a time slumping copper prices were weighing on the economy. “I voted for Piñera because I am an entrepreneur. I value my own efforts and do not expect much from the government,” said Rosario Poma, 53. “I think (Piñera) will be good for investment.” <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/chile/overview">Chile</a> has been one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies in recent decades, enabling the country to significantly reduce poverty. Nevertheless, GDP growth fell from a high of 6.1 percent in 2011 to 1.6 percent in 2016 because of declining copper prices, which negatively affected private investment and exports.
“My great hope is that after this election, despite the division, we can return to unity,” he said after voting in Santiago. To win, Guillier must capture votes from Sanchez supporters, who said she would vote for him to protest Pinera.  
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  Unlike several other Latin American countries, voting is no longer mandatory in Chile. Around 14 million people were eligible to cast ballots on Sunday but predictions expect that 54 percent of the electoral roll may not exercise their right to vote.
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