SANTIAGO – Former President Sebastian Piñera and journalist Beatriz Sanchez have cruised to victory in their parties’ primaries held in Chile on Sunday to select the presidential candidates for the rightist Let’s Go Chile coalition and the leftist Broad Front alliance, respectively.
According to an initial tally by the Servel election service – with just over 11 percent of the votes counted – Piñera is holding approximately 59 percent of the votes in the Let’s Go Chile primary, apparently handily defeating independent Sen. Manuel Jose Ossandon, who has garnered about 27 percent and lawmaker Jose Antonio Kast, with 14 percent.
For the Broad Front, Sanchez has obtained 70 percent of the votes, handily beating sociologist Alberto Mayol, who has about 30 percent.
The leftist New Majority coalition, which unites centrist and leftist parties, has not yet held its primary election, given that the two factions are fielding two different presidential candidates, Sen. Carolina Goic, the president of the Christian Democrats, and journalist and senator Alejandro Guillier, who is supported by the rest of the parties in the bloc.
This is the first time in Chile’s history that primaries regulated by law have been held and in which Chileans living abroad have been able to exercise their right to vote.
Some parties belonging to the Broad Front – such as Democratic Revolution and Autonomist Front – have complained of irregularities in the voting, such as insufficient ballots on hand.
The Broad Front also allowed its members to select the party’s candidates for congressmen and senators.
Piñera, who governed Chile from 2010-2014, will once again be the rightist opposition alliance’s candidate in the Nov. 19 election, although early polling indicates that he will have to contest a runoff vote with another candidate.