November 19, 2017, CHILE. Former president Sebastian Pinera of the conservative Alianza bloc is the frontrunner in the presidential election in Latin America’s most prosperous country, but loses some of his advantage if the contest goes into a second round.
If no candidate receives 50 per cent in the first round in November, a second round will be held on Dec 17. A runoff is seen as much tighter for Pinera, particularly if the fractured left unifies around one candidate.
The winners of the presidential, parliamentary and regional contests will be expected to address Chile’s sluggish economy. Latin American television network Telesur notes that President Michelle Bachelet's center-left Nueva Mayoria has been hampered by political scandal as well as a perception of inaction on issues that include pension, labor and education reform.
Pinera’s main competition is from the left – Alejandro Guillier of Nueva Mayoria and Beatriz Sanchez of the hard-left Frente Amplio bloc. The fourth main candidate is Carolina Goic of the centrist Christian Democratic Party.
Formerly known as the Concertation, Nueva Mayoria includes the Social Party, the Party for Democracy, the Radical Party and the Communist Party. In April, the Christian Democrats broke away from the coalition after almost 30 years, choosing to run Goic.
Reuters notes that a Pinera win would be welcomed by the Chilean business community, which blames Bachelet and Nueva Mayoria of stoking market uncertainty in one of Latin America's most free-market economies. Bachelet can’t stand again because of a sequential term limit.
Chile Presidential Hopeful Pinera Keeps Lead, Runoff Tight: Poll (Reuters/US News Sep 2017)
Who's Who in Primary Elections For Chile's New President (Telesur Jul 2017)
Bye-bye binomial? (Economist Feb 2012)