Piñera Favoured for Run-Off Win in Chile

Sebastián Piñera heads to next month’s presidential run-off in Chile as the frontrunner, according to a poll by CERC. 49 per cent of respondents would vote for the candidate of the centre-right Coalition for Change (CC) in the election.

Former president Eduardo Frei Ruiz Tagle of the centre-left Agreement of Parties for Democracy (CPD) is second with 32 per cent. 19 per cent of respondents are undecided or would not support either of the two politicians.

The CPD’s Michelle Bachelet, a former defence minister, was elected in a January 2006 run-off with 53.49 per cent of all cast ballots. Piñera was second with 46.51 per cent. Bachelet is ineligible for a consecutive term in office.

The CPD, which includes the Socialist Party (PS), the Christian-Democratic Party of Chile (PCD), the Party for Democracy (PD) and the Radical Social-Democratic Party (PRSD), has not lost a single presidential election in Chile since the return of democracy after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in March 1990. The centre-right CC includes Piñera’s National Renewal (RN), the Independent Democratic Union (UDI), and Chile First (CH1).

Preliminary results from the first round of Chile’s presidential election—held on Dec. 11—placed Piñera ahead with 44.05 per cent of all cast ballots, followed by Frei with 29.60 per cent, independent candidate Marco Enríquez-Ominami with 20.13 per cent, and left-wing candidate Jorge Arrate with 6.21 per cent. Since no candidate garnered more than 50 per cent of the vote in the first round, a run-off between the top two vote-getters will be held on Jan. 17, 2010.

On Dec. 12, Enríquez-Ominami ruled out endorsing either of the two run-off contenders, declaring, “Chile has been left with a choice in January between two candidates who represent the past, who represent yesterday. Such a choice is no choice. It is impossible to support the politicians of yesterday.”

Polling Data

If a second round takes place, which one of these candidates would you vote for?

Dec. 2009 Oct. 2009 Aug. 2009
Sebastián Piñera 49% 49% 41%
Eduardo Frei Ruiz Tagle 32% 33% 33%
Other / None / Not sure 19% 18% 26%

Source: Centro de Estudios de la Realidad Contemporánea (CERC)
Methodology: Interviews with 1,200 Chilean adults, conducted from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5, 2009. Margin of error is 3 per cent.


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