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December 13, 2005 [LINK]

Chilean election: Round Two

In Chile, Socialist candidate Michelle Bachelet failed to win an absolute majority of the vote, so there will be a second round runoff election on January 15 against conservative Sebastian Piñera, who got about 26 percent. He studied economics at Harvard and owns the Chilean airline LAN, which has acquired subsidiaries in Peru and Bolivia. If all of those who voted for third-place candidate Joaquin Lavin (who got 23 percent) in the first round vote for Piñera in Round Two, he would win. Thirteen leading members of the centrist Christian Democratic Party announced they will support Piña, among whom Fernando Moreno said that it would be "immoral" for a party called "Christian Democratic" to urge people to vote for an atheist candidate. (Bachelet says she is agnostic.) In response, Christian Democrats' leader, Adolfo Zaldívar, warned that any members who supported Piñera would be expelled from the party. See and El Mercurio Online (Spanish). Historically, the Chilean political party system has been fairly stable, with three or four major parties competing in most national elections, but since the Pinochet dictatorship ended, two large coalitions -- the leftist "Concertación" and the rightist "Alianza" -- have played a decisive role in deciding electoral outcomes. In Chile's congressional elections, the Socialist Party gained a few seats in both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, while the Christian Democrats lost a few seats.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 13 Dec 2005, 10: 04 PM

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