Bachelet ahead in Chile's presidential race

2013-11-18 20:27
Michelle Bachelet. (Claudio Reyes, AFP)

Michelle Bachelet. (Claudio Reyes, AFP)

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Santiago - Socialist Michelle Bachelet handily won the first round of Chile's presidential race on Sunday, with voters putting her on track to replace the country's conservative leader following a run-off in December.

Bachelet, Chile's first woman president from 2006 to 2010, is now eyeing a non-consecutive second term as leader of the South American nation with the highest per capita income.

"We knew that it would be tough to win on the first round, we worked really hard, and we almost did it," Bachelet told supporters late on Sunday.

"We did win tonight, and we are going to work hard to win comfortably in December."

With 99% of the vote counted Bachelet had nearly 47% against 25% for conservative Evelyn Matthei, Chile's Electoral Board said.

However Bachelet, who is seeking to succeed conservative billionaire President Sebastian Pinera, did not reach the 50% needed to avoid a run-off, so a second round of balloting is set for 15 December.

"I am really pleased. We will have a run-off," a relieved Matthei told reporters.

Trailing Matthei and Bachelet were independent economist Franco Parisi and Socialist Franco-Chilean filmmaker Marco Enriquez-Ominami with about 10% each. The remainder of the vote was divided among five minor candidates.
Read more on:    sebastian pinera  |  michelle bachelet  |  chile

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