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Chile: left controls parliament ahead of presidential second round

Chile: left controls parliament ahead of presidential second round
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Chile is set for a second round presidential vote after Socialist candidate Michelle Bachelet polled under 50 percent.

She now faces a united right-wing in the run-off.With most of the ballots counted, Bachelet, who hopes to become the country’s first woman president, won nearly 46 percent support. Speaking to supporters she said: “I’ve always been on the side of those who have less and are looking for a better standard of living, (…) I am convinced that not even all the right-wing candidates’ money will bend the will of the majority on the night of January 15th.”

Her nearest rival is billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera, the moderate conservative who garnered about 26 percent. Pinera has just become a lot stronger. Joaquin Lavin, another conservative who gained 23 percent, has stepped aside and endorsed him.

Pinera said the road ahead united the two conservatives, adding that Lavin would now be not only a friend but an ally in the challenges ahead. Some analysts Pinera could win the run-off.Chile also held elections for the parliament and senate on Sunday. The votes handed Bachelet victory, with her centre-left bloc taking firm control of both houses.