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Chile’s election: Presidency postponed

Schools out for Bachelet “WE THOUGHT this would be an eight-month pregnancy but in the end it’s going to the full term,” joked Michelle Bachelet, a paediatrician, on November 17th as she celebrated a bittersweet triumph that took her centre-left New Majority coalition tantalisingly close to the presidency. Having won 47% of the vote, nearly twice as much as her closest rival, Evelyn Matthei of the ruling centre-right Alliance (25%), she now faces a run-off on December 15th.Ms Matthei will struggle to win the support of the 28% of voters who backed the losing candidates, a clutch of populists and leftists. In the first presidential election in which voting was voluntary, only 49% bothered. So Ms Matthei has decided to try and rouse non-voters with “a message of moderation”.That plays on fears in some quarters that Ms Bachelet, Chile’s president in 2006-10, has swung further left, endorsing the demands of a student movement which wants education to be free to users, and promising tax increases and a new constitution. The New Majority, which unlike the previous centre-left Concertación coalition includes the Communist Party, won a...

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