Presidential and Legislative elections are taking place today in Chile. The big favourite, Michelle Bachelet, might be the first president enjoying a second term since the reestablishment of democracy in 1990. Bachelet is daughter of Alberto Bachelet Fernández, a general of the Chilean Air Force who remained loyal to deposed president Salvador Allende when in 1973 the military led by Augusto Pinochet established a dictatorial regime. General Bachelet died of a a heart attack in a prison hospital in Santiago, as a consequence of torture.
Michelle Bachelet was a popular Health Minister in president Lagos administration and later became in the first female Defense Minister, a doubly symbolic appointment. In her cabinet posts Bachelet’s reputation and popularity reached remarkable heights. After the withdrawal of DC’s Soledad Alvear, Bachelet was nominated candidate to run in the 2005 presidential election for the ruling Concertacion, the centre-left coalition formed by the Christian Democracy (PDC), the Socialist Party (PS), the Party for Democracy (PPD) and the Social Democrat Radical Party (PRSD).
Michelle Bachelet topped the polls in the first round (December 11,2005), getting 45.96% of the vote. In the right, businessman (and incumbent president since 2010) Sebastián Piñera surpassed the frontrunner of the 2000 election, Joaquín Lavín. Piñera ran for Renovación Nacional (RN), getting 25.4% of the vote. Lavín, candidate of the right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI), came third getting 23.23%. The leftist alliance Juntos Podemos , made up with PCCh (Communist Party of Chile), PH (Humanist Party) and other small parties and with Tomás Hirsch as candidate, came in 4th place getting 5.4%.
In the second round (January 15, 2006) Bachelet defeated Piñera by a 7% margin (53.5%/46.5%)
In the map above, leading candidate by commune in the first round (left) and Bachelet/Piñera margins in the second round (right).