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Chileans Vote in Presidential Election


Chileans are voting in elections that could make a one-time political prisoner the country's first woman president.

More than eight-million voters are expected to decide on a successor to President Richard Lagos, who cannot run again. Pre-election surveys say the front-runner is Socialist Michelle Bachelet, a single mother and former defense minister who was tortured during General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.

Ms. Bachelet said Saturday she is confident she will be elected president. But surveys indicate she will not win the more than 50 percent required to avoid a run-off election.

She is likely to face a run-off with either of two right-wing candidates - former Santiago mayor Joaquin Lavin or billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera - on January 15.

Chileans are also electing all 120 members of their lower house of parliament and 20 out of the country's 38 senators.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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