Left-wing candidate Michelle Bachelet won the most votes in Chile’s presidential election but her tally was not enough to avoid a second round run-off.
With just over 46 percent Bachelet fell short of the 50 percent she needed for an outright first-round victory. Bachelet was formerly Chile’s first woman president, leading the country between 2006 and 2010.
“We made a big effort considering the number of candidates and the challenge of voting not being compulsory for the first time. We were so close. We won tonight and we are going to work hard to get a big victory in December,” Bachelet told supporters.
Nine candidates were in the running which split the vote. Evelyn Matthei of the ruling right-wing coalition came second with just 25 percent. The two women will go head-to-head on December 15.
“The second rounds are good for Chile because they bring moderation and the speeches are more focused and this is what we want for our country,” said Matthei putting some positive spin on the challenge facing her.
Backers of the largely anti-establishment minor candidates are likely to switch to Bachelet in the run-off. Matthei is up against a wave of support for her rival who is standing on a platform of wide-ranging reforms.