As expected, the ConcertaciÃ³n presidential candidate, Michelle Bachelet, and the RenovaciÃ³n Nacional candidate, SebastiÃ¡n PiÃ±era, will advance to a runoff, according to El Mercurio‘s handy graphics and tables:
LavÃn (UDI), 23.2
Hirsch (left), 5.2
Results are not final, but probably will not change much.
Bachelet has a strong lead going into the runoff, but the combined votes of the two right-wing candidates are greater than her own votes by just over three percentage points, and total to around 49%. Bachelet and Hirsch combine for a narrow majority for the left. Her task is now to cement that majority in the head-to-head battle leading up to the runoff in January.
Bachelet has to court the left votes without losing more conservative Christian Democrats to PiÃ±era. The more she courts voters on one side, the more she risks losing voters on the other. If Hirsch voters stay home, it is bad news for her, but not as bad as if center-right voters go to her opponent.
On the right, it can’t necessarily be assumed that all of LavÃn’s voters will go to PiÃ±era. Some will abstain and others could even vote for Bachelet, as despite his being the most “right wing” in conventional terms, LavÃn developed a following among some poor constituencies in his term as mayor of a Santiago suburb, and later of Santiago itself. LavÃn only narrowly lost to the current president, Ricardo Lagos, also a Socialist, in the runoff in January, 2000. In the interim, however, he has probably gained more new enemies than friends (which explains why he came in third, behind a fellow right-wing candidate).
Bachelet should win, but it can’t be called a foregone conclusion.