Presidential candidates in Chile have made their final speeches ahead of Sunday’s election. Opinion polls favour the popular ex-president Michelle Bachelet. She became the first woman to run Chile in 2006. A president can not serve consecutive terms in office, so four years after leaving, she’s back as a centre-left candidate.
At the close of her campaign in Santiago, 62-year-old Bachelet has promised to redress inequality by hiking taxes and putting cash into education and health, as well as sustaining economic growth.
“We want to invite you all to vote en mass for the new majority this Sunday. We want to win in the first round, because we have a lot to do,” she said.
Bachelet’s main rival is known as the Iron Lady of Chile. 60-year-old conservative Evelyn Matthei is pledging to continue with the business-friendly policies of current conservative President Sebastian Pinera and to increase police powers. Having struggled to gain support in her campaign, Matthei gave her final pitch for the country’s top job.
“Because we want a country that continues to grow, because we want a country with more jobs, because we want a country with better wages, because we want a country with a better standard of health for Chileans, because we want a country with a good quality of education,” she said.
Chile has the most expensive university system in Latin America. That sparked mass street protests in 2011. Education remains a huge issue and a priority for candidates..
If there is no outright winner in Sunday’s election, the two front runners go through to a run off in December, however many expect Bachelet to get the 50 percent she needs for a first-round victory.