The frontrunner for Chile’s presidency, billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera, faces an array of left-wing parties in this year’s elections but he can expect help from one quarter – low turnout. Recent opinion polls give Pinera, a conservative former president, a commanding lead over his seven mostly left-of-center rivals for the Nov. 19 first round but predict he is unlikely to take the more than 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off. While a unified left might muster the votes to defeat Pinera in the second round, weak turnout fed by disenchantment with politics and interparty bickering would pave the way for a Pinera win.
“It’s likely that many left-wing voters are not going to vote in the second round because their candidate will have been eliminated, and with this drop, Pinera’s vote share catapults,” said analyst Kenneth Bunker, of Tresquintos. “Pinera is going to win if fewer people vote.”
… Chile, South America’s most developed economy, is one of the few countries in the region that does not have mandatory voting.
Turnout in the elections following Chile’s transition from compulsory to voluntary voting in 2012 has dipped as low as 42 percent, near the bottom of developed countries, according to statistics from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
Full Article: Low turnout in Chile election could hand victory to Pinera.