Chile election: Conservative Pinera to face Socialist Guillier in run-off

Chile election: Conservative Pinera to face Socialist Guillier in run-off

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Sebastián Piñera (left) and Alejandro Guillier now face a second round

Conservative Sebastián Piñera has won the first round of Chile's presidential poll, but failed to avoid a run-off.

With more than 90% the votes counted, the 67-year-old billionaire has 37%, electoral officials say.

Mr Piñera, who was president from 2010-14, will now face Socialist contender Alejandro Guillier (23%) in the second round on 17 December.

Incumbent leader Michelle Bachelet is unable to seek re-election under Chile's constitution.

In all, eight candidates were standing in the presidential race.

On Sunday, voters were also electing all 155 members of the lower house and half of the senate.

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Opinion polls had made Mr Piñera favourite to win the vote.

In 2010, he became Chile's first conservative leader since the country's return to democracy, ending two decades of uninterrupted centre-left rule.

During the latest presidential campaign Mr Piñera managed to unite Chile's conservative wing, and enjoys backing of the business community.

He represents the right-wing Chile Vamos coalition.

His victory would mark another shift to the right in South America after the rise of conservative leaders in Argentina, Brazil and Peru.

Mr Piñera's main rival Mr Guillier is a former journalist and is candidate from Ms Bachelet's left-wing Nueva Mayoria coalition.

The 64-year-old pledged to continue a series of liberal reforms launched by Ms Bachelet.

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