Chile`s presidential race heads for run-off

Opposition candidate Michelle Bachelet vowed to seal her victory in a December run-off after taking a big lead in Chile`s first-round presidential election Sunday.

IANS| Updated: Nov 18, 2013, 11:39 AM IST

Santiago: Opposition candidate Michelle Bachelet vowed to seal her victory in a December run-off after taking a big lead in Chile`s first-round presidential election Sunday.

"We have won the election and made it by a large majority," Bachelet told her supporters at the end of the election day. "We won tonight and we will work to earn widely in December."

With 96.46 percent of the ballots counted, the former president had 46.73 percent of the votes, while ruling conservative party candidate Evelyn Matthei garnered 25 percent, the Electoral Service said.

As no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two will go for a run-off election Dec 15.

The results were a boon for Matthei, who entered late in the presidential race, but will now have another month to bolster her support.

"Passing to the second round is definitely a victory because we start late," said Matthei.

"There are differences between us and we are going to highlight them in the next 30 days," she said.

A crowded field of nine candidates made the vote fractured, with the third and fourth placed candidates each garnering more than 10 percent of the votes.

Independent candidate Franco Parisi got 10.15 percent, while Progressive Party candidate Marco Enriquez-Ominami got 10.84 percent.

More than 13.5 million people are eligible to vote in Chile.