On December 13 last year, 8.2 million voted in the presidential election in Chile. Ingen af kandidatene klarte å få en flertal af stemmerne. The Candidates who received the most votes; Sebastian Piñera (44 percent) and Eduardo Frei (29 percent) were up for a second election on January 17, 2010. Piñera won 51.6 percent against Freis, who received 48.4 percent.
Den nyvalgte president vil ikke tage kontoret til marts 11, på grunn av det nåværende feriesesongen i Chile. Men forberedelserne til regeringens kommende arbejde har allerede startet. En viktig del af presidentens magt i Chile er den evne til å foreslå lovgivning, som er en af årsakene til at den nye administration ønsker at forberede så mye som muligt før det kommer i kraft.
The current president Michelle Bachelet belongs to the coalition of Social Democrats and Christian Democrats who have ruled the country since the democratic restoration in 1989. Eduardo Frei also represents this coalition. Bachelet is and has been very popular among Chileans – more popular than the party she represents. In 2006, Bachelet won the election with 53.5 percent of the votes. Mange tror at hun kunne bli re-valgt hvis landets konstitusjon hadde gjort det mulig for presidenten å bli valgt for mer enn én semester. Det er kun muligt at blive valgt for en anden periode efter at have forladt formandskabet i mellem. Således kan det ikke udelukkes at den 58 år gamle Michelle Bachelet vil være oppe for presidentvalget i 2013.
What makes the recent election remarkable is that Sebastian Piñeras will be the first democratically elected president from a center-right party since 1952. This is a sign of change and an indication that Chile is leaving its past behind. Confidence in the democratic right, along with successful experiences of free trade and growth-friendly policies, which is what Piñera represents, made the victory possible. Only days after his victory, Piñera declared that Chile’s largest public copper manufacturer, Codelco, needs an infusion of capital and that a good way to solve this would be to at least partially privatize the ownership. Men han stressede, at en sådan forandring ikke vil finde sted uden støtte fra de chilenske folket, og at en tæt dialog vil blive indledt med de fagforeninger, der repræsenterer medarbejderne i Codelco.
Sebastian Piñera was the candidate for the two center-right parties; Unión Demócrata Independiente, UDI and Renovación Nacional, RN. Begge parter er relativt unge og blev grundlagt under restaureringen af demokrati. For the first time in a election, UDI and RN were unified in presenting one candidate, which paved the way to victory.
Piñera is a business man who, according to the business journal Forbes, has private assets worth around EUR 7 billion. Blandt hans mest berømte selskaper er den succesful Chilean flyselskab Lan Chile og tv-kanalen Chilevisión. Due to his Presidency, Piñera will sell his shares in Lan Chile. Chilevisión will be converted into a foundation. Piñera is 60 years old, married and has four children and grandchildren. Han var kandidat i presidentvalget i 2006 men mistet Michelle Bachelet. Piñera’s brother José, is known worldwide for creating Chile’s pension system, which has become a model for many other countries. José Piñera belongs to the UDI, in contrast to his brother Sebastian who has a background in the RN. Beide de UDI en de RN vertegenwoordigen conservatieve waarden en liberale economische beleidslijnen van vrijhandel, ondernemerschap en vrije markten.
The main issue in the election campaign, according to Manfredo Mayol, Head of Communication at UDI, has been crime and unemployment. Piñeras victory can thus primarily be explained by the fact that he represented change. At the same time Eduardo Frei, a former president (1996-2000), was perceived as one of those “who have been in power for too long”. In the campaign, Piñera particularly stressed that he was the candidate representing the masses; Both the middle-class and those less fortunate. Piñera also stressed that he wants to increase business opportunities and improve economic growth in Chile.