A Bitter Victory for the Chilean Right?

Why Sebastián Piñera Would Struggle to Govern

Sebastián Piñera waving to supporters in Santiago, November 2017. Ivan Alvarado / REUTERS

The wind seems to be blowing in favor of the Chilean right. The country’s left-wing parties are fragmented. Its current socialist government, headed by Michelle Bachelet, is deeply unpopular. And a few days before the runoff election on Sunday to choose the country’s next leader, the center-right candidate, Sebastián Piñera, who won the first round of voting, on November 19, is polling three to five points ahead of his opponent, the independent senator Alejandro Guillier.

Piñera, who served as president from 2010 to 2014, seems set to return to office. But his victory would be a bitter one, produced less by his platform’s popular appeal than by the division of the left and low voter turnout. No political force has a majority in Chile’s Congress, and Piñera’s victory would encourage the reemergence of various protest movements. For all these reasons, a government headed by

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