Chileans are going to choose their next president later today – with a former defence minister running against a millionaire businessman in the run-off poll.
Jobs and law and order have been top issues, but the fact the leading candidate is a woman has also generated much debate. Michelle Bachelet is expected to become Chile’s first female president, with polls giving her a 5 point lead over Sebastian Pinera. She is from the centre-left coalition which has ruled Chile since 1990, while he is a right winger calling for a change of direction. In a traditional society where women even have separate polling stations, and divorce was only made legal two years ago, what do men think of a woman as president? “I think it’s enough for a woman to run her household, she shouldn’t run the country,” said one male voter in a cafe. “I think it could be interesting to be led, governed by a woman,” another man said. Michelle Bachelet has not shied away from playing on her gender in the campaign. She says she wants to make the Latin American country more equal and modern – and in her final rally told supporters she gave them a “woman’s word” that her promises would come true.