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Chile Billionaire beat leftists, now faces runoff

Chile Billionaire beat leftists, now faces runoff

SANTIAGO, Chile – Right-wing billionaire Sebastian Pinera beat uggs on sale three leftists in Sunday's presidential election but failed to obtain a majority, setting up a runoff against a veteran of the coalition that has ruled Chile for two decades of democracy. With 60 percent of the vote counted, Sebastian Pinera had 44 percent to 30 percent for the ruling center-left coalition's candidate, former President Eduardo Frei. Socialist Rep. Marco Enriquez-Ominami, who broke away from the ruling coalition in a dispute with Frei, had 19 percent, and Jorge Arrate, representing an outsider coalition led by Communists, had 6 percent, according to nationwide results. The trend was expected to roughly hold through Sunday's vote count, putting Pinera and Frei in a Jan. 17 runoff election where the key question will be whether leftists can unify to fend off the most moderate candidate Chile's right has ever had. A runoff win by Pinera, 60, would give Chile its first right wing government since end of its dictatorp and would mark a tilt to the right in a region where leftists have won most recent elections. The government's general secretary, Jose Antonio Viera-Gallo, immediately called on supporters of the other leftist candidates to come nba jerseys together, saying that Sunday's vote makes it clear that the people want Frei in the second round. Stability and experience are selling points for Frei, 67, who governed Chile from 1994 to 2000. "We don't want leaps into the unknown, nor do we want to return to the past. We want a government that worries about the people," he said after voting. "We don't believe that the power of the market and money should have priority over a society." But many voters are fed up with having the same government throughout 19 years of democracy following Gen. Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorp. Promising cge, Pinera and Enriquez-Ominami challenged the ruling center-left coalition like never before. Outgoing President Michelle Bachelet has 78 percent approval ratings and Chile seems on track to become a first-world nation. Chile's economy, negligible inflation and stable democracy are the envy of Latin America. Booming copper revenues and prudent fiscal policies have helped the government reduce poverty from 45 percent in 1990 to uggs 13 percent today, raising per capita annual income to $14,000 in the nation of 17 million. But a huge wealth gap between rich and poor and a chronically underfunded education system have many voters feeling more must be done to redistribute Chile's copper wealth. A study by the World Bank several years ago showed that the poorest 10 percent of Chileans benefit from only 1.3 percent of government revenues, while the richest 10 percent benefit from 40 percent. Pinera, a Harvard-educated economist, ranked No. 701 with $1 billion on the Forbes magazine world's richest list. He built his fortune bringing credit cards to Chile, and his investments include Chile's main airline, most popular football team and a leading TV cnel. He has promised to bring the same entrepreneurial spirit to governing Chile, and expressed optimism after voting Sunday, saying "better times are coming." Whether the left unites to beat Pinera in January depends largely on Enriquez-Ominami, a renegade Socialist who broke with Concertacion because the coalition's rules favored Frei. Asked Sunday if he would accept a deal to support Frei against Pinera, he nike max rejected the idea as "typical of the old politics." "When it's not convenient for them, there's no deal. And when it is convenient, they desperately try until the last minute to offer political appointments in excge for support," said Enriquez-Ominami, a documentary filmmaker and congressman who was raised in Parisian exile after Pinochet's military killed his Communist rebel father. Analysts say Enriquez-Ominami's backers will come around and support Frei rather t enable a victory by Pinera's alliance of right-wing parties that once supported Pinochet. Voting is obligatory for registered voters; failing to cast a ballot can bring fines up to $220. But millions of voting-age citizens — particularly younger generations — haven't bothered to uggs outlet sign up, and critics blame the aging government for their apathy.

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