Chile elects Sebastián Piñera as Bachelet’s successor

Elections 2017

SANTIAGO — Conservative billionaire Sebastián Piñera has won a new term in office after gaining a wider than expected margin in Chile’s presidential election run-off on Sunday.

In his first speech outside of the Crown Plaza, at Av. Bernardo O’Higgins, where thousands of his supporters gathered, Piñera said he will be president of all Chileans. He also thanked his team and wife, Cecilia Morel.

His center-left opponent Mr. Alejandro Guillier conceded victory and congratulated the former president on his win.

In his concession speech at a hotel in downtown Santiago, the former TV anchorman and current senator called his loss a “harsh defeat” and urged his supporters to defend the progressive reforms of outgoing President Michelle Bachelet’s second term.

With more than 95% counted, the 68-year-old billionaire already has over 54% of the vote.

Mr. Piñera, who governed Chile from 2010 to 2014 — having been both preceded and succeeded by Ms. Bachelet — won the first round of votes on Nov. 19 by a large margin, when the number of candidates reduced from eight to two for a final run-off.

During the first round, Beatriz Sanchez of the Broad Front coalition came in third with 20 per cent of the vote. She pledged her support to Guillier.

About 14 million were eligible to vote in the ballot, including Chileans living abroad for the first time. However, voter turnout was low on Sunday.