Tags: LT | Chile | Election

Billionaire Sebastian Pinera Wins Chile Presidency

Sunday, 17 Jan 2010 05:23 PM

 

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Billionaire Sebastian Pinera has won Chile's election, becoming the nation's first democratically elected right-wing president in 52 years.

The ruling coalition's candidate Eduardo Frei conceded defeat Sunday after 60 percent of polling stations reported a 52 percent to 48 percent advantage for Pinera, ending two decades of center-left rule since the end of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.

"We will be guardians of liberty and of all our social victories," Frei said.

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

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Billionaire Sebastian Pinera held a wide lead over the ruling party's Eduardo Frei with most votes counted in Chile's election Sunday, a trend that could make him the nation's first democratically elected right-wing president in 52 years.

With 60 percent of polling stations reporting nationwide, Pinera has 52 percent to 48 percent for Frei, a former president who represents the center-left coalition that has governed Chile for 20 years since the end of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.

The initial results brought gloom over the ruling coalition's election headquarters, and Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma said "the trend is irreversible."

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

But many leftists have become disenchanted after two decades with the same group of politicians in power, and Frei's effort to raise fears of a retreat on human rights may not have persuaded enough of them to turn out on Sunday.

Pinera, a Harvard-trained economist, focused his campaign on hopes for change, promising to create a million jobs and double Chile's per-capita income of $12,000 a year by expanding the country's growth to 6 percent a year.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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