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Chile poll: Bachelet likely to win presidency

October 29, 2013

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Former President Michelle Bachelet has a big lead ahead of Chile’s Nov. 17 presidential election and a poll released Tuesday suggests she’ll win in the first round and avoid a runoff.

Top polling company CEP said that 47 percent of those surveyed said they’d vote for center-leftist Bachelet if the elections were held this Sunday.

Likely votes from uncommitted or undeclared voters would push her past 50 percent, eliminating the need for a Dec. 15. runoff.

Her closest rival is conservative Evelyn Matthei, backed by 14 percent. Independent candidate Franco Parisi came in third in the poll with 10 percent.

CEP polled 1,437 people between Sept. 13 and Oct. 14. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

Bachelet and Matthei were childhood friends whose fathers became top generals on opposite sides of the country’s deep political divide. Bachelet’s father supported socialist President Salvador Allende until a 1973 coup. Matthei’s father ran the military school where Gen. Alberto Bachelet was tortured to death for refusing to line up behind dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Bachelet, who served as Chile’s first female president from 2006 to 2010, vows to use a second term to fight the country’s sharp income inequality.

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Luis Andres Henao on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LuisAndresHenao

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