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Bachelet likely winner as Chileans begin vote

A recent poll found that former president Michelle Bachelet will defeat opponent Evelyn Matthei 66.3 to 33.7.

Last updated: 15 Dec 2013 11:33
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More than 13 million are eligible to vote in Sunday's election, but voting is no longer mandatory [Reuters]

Chileans have headed to the polls for a run off-vote that is likely to see socialist former President Michelle Bachelet defeat her conservative rival by a landslide. 

Sunday's vote marks the first time in Latin American history that a presidential runoff has taken place between two women.

"There is a chance Bachelet will get record high support and win with 60 percent of the vote," said Marta Lagos, who heads Latinobarometro Chile, a public opinion survey firm.

A recent University of Santiago and Ipsos poll also found that Bachelet is likely to draw 66.3 percent of the vote and her opponent, Evelyn Matthei, an economist and former labour minister, 33.7 percent.

Voter turnout

Evelyn Matthei has been weakened by her family's ties to the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet and by her post in the unpopular government of outgoing President Sebastian Pinera.

Bachelet was Chile's first female president, leading the country from 2006-2010.

"I had the honour to be Chile's first woman president, and it will be great honour once again to be the president of every Chilean man and woman," Bachelet told cheering supporters at her closing campaign rally Thursday.

More than 13 million Chileans are eligible to vote in Sunday's election.

But turnout will be another deciding factor since this year will be the first time voting in a presidential election is voluntary.

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Source:
AFP
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