Right-Wing Billionaire Wins Chile Presidency

Sunday, 17 Jan 2010 09:29 PM

 

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Sebastian Piñera won Chile's presidential election yesterday, ending two decades of centre-Left rule since the end of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.

The ruling coalition's candidate Eduardo Frei conceded defeat to the billionaire after 60 per cent of polling stations reported a 52 per cent to 48 per cent advantage for Mr Pinera.

Mr Piñera had a wide lead in every poll, and the race only tightened after Mr Frei and outgoing President Michelle Bachelet repeatedly invoked the legacy of Pinochet, whose dictatorship was supported by parties that make up Mr Piñera's coalition.

The son of a prominent centrist politician, Mr Piñera has long sought to distance himself from Pinochet's rule, when more than 3,000 suspected leftists were killed or "disappeared." He wooed moderate voters by portraying himself as the leader of a new Right and an entrepreneur who made his fortune with hard work.

Mr Piñera's victory was the Right's first win in Chile since 1958, and bucks the trend in South America, where most governments are ruled by Leftists.

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