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Pinera Will Face Frei in Chilean Presidential Run-Off Election


Conservative Chilean billionaire gets most votes, but falls short of outright majority needed to avoid run-off

Conservative Chilean billionaire Sebastian Pinera has garnered the most votes in Sunday's presidential election, but fallen short of the outright majority he needed to avoid a run-off.

With about 60 percent of the votes counted, Mr. Pinera had just over 44 percent of the vote, with former President Eduardo Frei garnering 30 percent. Mr. Frei ran the country from 1994 to 2000.

A run-off election between Mr. Pinera and Mr. Frei will be held January 17. If Mr. Pinera wins, it will be the first time a conservative has led the country since it returned to democracy 19 years ago.

The winner will replace the popular outgoing President Michelle Bachelet, who cannot run for a second consecutive term. Mr. Pinera lost to Ms. Bachelet in the last presidential vote in 2006.

Mr. Pinera, a Harvard-educated economist, owns a television station, a soccer (football) team and a stake in Lan Airlines. If elected president, he is expected to steer Latin America's most stable economy toward more free-market policies.

The government coalition known as the Concertacion has been in power in Chile since democracy was reinstated in 1990.

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