Chileans Go To the Polls for a Presidential Election Tomorrow

December 12, 2009 By Roque Planas

The New York Times reports that Conservative Sebastián Piñera currently leads the polls with 44% in Chile’s presidential elections, but no candidate is expected to win by simple majority in the first round. Instead, a runoff election between Piñera and the left-wing candidate of the governing Concertación coalition, Eduardo Frei, in January looks more likely.

The center-left Concertación coalition has held the Chilean presidency since 1990 and Michelle Bachelet leaves office with an 80% approval rating according to an Al Jazeera English newscast. But Bachelet’s popularity hasn’t quite rubbed off on Frei, who faces competition from the left-wing independent Marco Enríquez-Osmani as well as Piñera.

Analysts have been expecting a shift toward the center-right in South America this year due to the onset of the economic crisis. They will be watching this election closely. The Latin America News Dispatch plans to publish original reporting on the Chilean election, so check the site later this week.