Chile: Sebastián Piñera wins presidential vote

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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 Chile’s presidential runoff vote on Sunday. The electoral results push Chile politically towards the right, as followed by other neighbouring nations like Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

The former president, 68, had claimed 54.57 percent of the vote in the runoff electionto 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.

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 President Michelle Bachelet’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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