Billionaire Tycoon Will Be Next President Of Chile

A billionaire who has been described as one of the world’s wealthiest politicians just won his second non-consecutive term as president of Chile when he defeated his center-left opponent in what observers are calling a landslide victory in Sunday's election.

As the Washington Post reported, Sebastián Piñera, of the right-leaning National Renovation party and conservative Let’s Go Chile coalition, defeated center-left candidate Alejandro Guillier, of the ruling New Majority coalition, by 9 percentage points, turning the current government out of office. Piñera previously governed Chile between 2009 and 2014. Turnout increased between yesterday’s vote and a Nov. 19 runoff, as large numbers of conservative voters showed up at the polls, while leftists stayed home.

Guillier conceded and congratulated his opponent on his win and his return to the presidency after a four-year gap, according to the BBC.

Like we mentioned above, Piñera is a billionaire who once owned the television channel Chilevision, a large share of Lan Chile airlines, and the Colo-Colo soccer team. He won despite criticisms of his offshore holdings and use of tax havens. He joins Trump and Adrej Babis, a Czech tycoon who rode to electoral victory in a landslide in his home country earlier this year.

As WaPo points out, the 67-year-old will succeed Socialist President Michelle Bachelet, whose New Majority coalition came to power in 2014 on a platform promising sweeping change. Her administration reformed Chile’s tax and education systems and legalized abortion in the event of rape, endangerment to the mother’s life, or an unviable pregnancy. Bachelet began reforming Chile’s constitution, submitting a bill to the Congress earlier this year that would allow for a constitutional convention. Pinera is apparently a fan of many of these reforms and has vowed to preserve them. According to Reuters, Pinera said on Monday he would work to form a “broad cabinet, of continuity and change,” as he sought to strike a tone of conciliation a day after his resounding victory.

Regarding the bill calling for a constitutional convention to reform the dictatorship-era constitution, Pinera said he was in agreement “of perfecting it but in a climate of unity,” according to Reuters.

Pinera’s victory didn’t represent a sharp turn to the right for Chile - the world’s largest copper producer and widely considered Latin America's most-stable economy - as it did exhaustion with Bachelet, whose second term was clouded by accusations of corruption, including an incident involving her son and daughter-in-law. The media and opposition politicians condemned Bachelet’s family for having secured a loan days before her 2013 victory to purchase land that was resold shortly thereafter, generating millions of dollars in profit. Though leftists weren’t the only ones impugned by scandal during her tenure: The right-wing Independent Democratic Union party was implicated in a campaign finance scandal, leading many Chileans to perceive the overall political system as corrupt. Bachelet leaves office with a dismal 23% approval rating.

Though Pinera’s victory is the latest in a wave of support for right-wing candidates across South America. Last year and this year, right-wing parties have won in Argentina and Peru. In Brazil, the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff brought right-wing Michel Temer to office.

According to WaPo, support for leftists parties was still strong during the runoff race, forcing Pinera to move to the center on issues like education and pensions, and managed to exploit divisions between the country’s far-left and center-left factions that caused many voters to stay home in the final round.

Piñera represents a coalition of conservative parties, but his victory does not signal a right turn. In the first round, Piñera won 36.6 percent of the vote, while Guillier took 22.7 percent, and the further left Broad Front candidate, Beatriz Sánchez, won 20.27 percent. The Broad Front increased its seats from 3 to 20 in the lower house, surpassing expectations. The coalition’s strong performance shows support for leftist ideology and pushed Guillier to the left during the second-round campaign; he changed his position on student debt forgiveness and pension reform.

 

Piñera sought to woo centrist voters by shifting his position on education and pension policy, while also mobilizing the far-right, in part because far-right independent José Antonio Kast did well in the first round. Kast ran a nationalist campaign that called for the construction of a wall between Chile and Peru and won just under 8 percent of votes. Piñera attempted to attract these voters, accusing the center-left parties of moving Chile in the direction of Venezuela and hinted that voter fraud had helped the center-left in the first round. These appeals likely motivated increased conservative turnout in Sunday’s runoff election.

If there’s any broader takeaway from the vote, it’s that Chile’s center is vanishing. In the first round, centrist Christian Democratic Party candidate Carolina Goic won only 5.88% of the vote.

Still, while he won the presidency by a wide margin, Pinera’s administration faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the battle to get things done.

This morning, he shared breakfast with president Bachelet and her family.

 

 

His coalition controls only 73 of the 155 seats in the lower house. The composition of congress means that the president will need support from the opposition to pass legislation. As we already noted, with fewer centrist lawmakers, the divisiveness in the legislature might soon rival the US Congress.

This may reinforce the electorate’s perception that Chile is “stuck,” generating further discontent.

Pinera will lead Chile until his term ends in 2022.
 

Comments

Zepper Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:23 Permalink

I wonder if this will be an isolated incident? They were obviously both murdered, wealthy people dont go and kill themselves, they torture poor souls to do so. What should be in the back of the minds of all these billionaires is, am I next? Pops some popcorn and waits with bated breath.

rf80412 Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:40 Permalink

People are stupid.  Complain about corruption then vote for someone who's demonstrated a singular talent for making themselves rich.

BritBob Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:40 Permalink

Chile compaired with its neighbours is relatively free of corruption.Corruption Perception Index positions 2016 : - Chile 24/176; Argentina 95/176; Bolivia 113/176

AurorusBorealus Pendolino Mon, 12/18/2017 - 13:13 Permalink

Exactly.  You have to understand the Chileans to understand.  What would be perceived as corruption in Argentina is just business as usual in Chile.  It is not that the Chileans are more dishonest than others.  However, the giving of gifts and trading of favors for favors is seen as a part of every day life and is expected.  No one ever wants to give offense to anyone: a problem common to all South American countries, so everyone generally goes along in order to avoid causing a ruckus.Pay no mind to Britbob, he does not know anything about South America and what he really means to say is that Argentina is corrupt, because he fights the war for the MALVINAS (MALVINAS, BOB) over in his mind 24 hours per day.  In point of fact, an Argentine judge is pressing for charges of treason to be brought against the former president for working with Iran after the terrorist bombings in Buenos Aires in the 1990s.  Imagine that... someone who consorts with terrorists being accused of actual crimes by government officials.  Of course, the governments of the U.S. and England are so filled with righteous, high-minded people that no one in those nations would ever consort with terrorists, accept bribes of millions to sell their nations Uranium, or coverup up who was responsible for terrorist attacks that kill many people and destroy buildings.As to Chile, the U.S. media portrays Chile as a "stable" economy because Chile allows unrestricted flows of USD as "hot money" into their economy, whereas Argentina has taken a stand against hot flows.  As is the case in Brazil, unrestricted "hot flows" of USD cause massive economic dislocation, drive up prices of real estate, construction materials, and resources, which stymies local economic development.  Chile's economy is so stable that tens of thousands of Chileans enter Argentina every year in search of work.  I had 5 Chileans as my neighbors last year, working as migrant laborers, picking potatos for local farmers.

In reply to by Pendolino

JelloBeyonce ft65 Mon, 12/18/2017 - 14:40 Permalink

No one ever has enough.  Everyone claims they have enough, but no one has enough and they keep accumulating more stuff.  Those that question the wealth-seekers are often wealth-seekers on their own accord, they just haven't accumulated as much.  Every single person needs to look at themselves first. Beyond that, many philosophers and social scientists have pointed to traits such as a lack of true self-esteem; lack of a well-developed moral conscience; sociopathy, disregard for social constructs; and a general lack of broader understandings of the world beyond money and possessions.  But again, everyone loves "stuff".  Many have a "God" complex, which is likely a lack of security.  Humans in general seem to be inflicted with an innate insecurity, this religions (Gods), money, possessions, etc.  Further, money is power.  Money buys "loyalty".  Money buys governments and political favors.  If you don't buy off the politicians, you're opponent will.  Take a look at the link below.....Brooke Harrington says money buys the power to do just about anything.  Only the richest of the rich have true "freedom" (as defined by the construct of man-made laws, whereas some would argue true "freedom" of the mind & soul are accomplished only thru absence of possessions.). http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674743809 Many Historians (including Plutarch, Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, and others) have noted that the accumulation of wealth by it's very nature is guided by luck, and always inequitable.Throughout known recorded history, wealth has always accumulated into the hands of a few...all other factors being equal.  Yet mankind has mistaken that purely accidental wealth accumulation for knowledge, intelligence, skill, etc.   People often like to be rich because other admire that quality.  How many truly "poor" people do you know & hang out with?  Would you go to a "poor" person for business/investing advice? When Google was first launched, few, outside the founders, expected it to survive.  The business model was "flawed".  Yet it thrived.However, do you know how many products Google has available at any one time?  They have hundreds of products, yet only a handful are successful....most are complete money losers (this generally follows the 80/20 rule "Pareto Principle").   The founders of Google are now regarded as "geniuses", yet they started with purely accidental luck, and continue soley on the "Pareto Principle".....that is, create enough products, and few will succeed.  Those products thatdo succeed need to subsize the others, and hopefully generate an overall  gross profit.They don't know what they're doing beyond that.  Their business (like all) is a crap shoot.  It's a numbers game.

In reply to by ft65

JelloBeyonce Mon, 12/18/2017 - 14:08 Permalink

On the Love of WealthbyPlutarch"...we can say to those who are dazzled by fine estates, greathouses, and large sums of money and regard them as the greatest of blessings: 'Yes, ifhappiness were for sale and to be got by purchase' (Nevertheless many cases could becited of men who would rather be rich though miserable than become happy by payingmoney to be so.) But money cannot buy peace of mind, greatness of spirit, serenity,confidence, and self-sufficiency. Having wealth is not the same as being superior to it, nor is possessing luxuries the sameas feeling no need of them.  From what other ills then does wealth deliver us, if it doesnot even deliver us from the craving for it?  Nay, drink allays the desire of drink, andfood is a remedy for hunger; and one who saysA cloak I beg: Hipponax is acoldis annoyed when several are brought and rejects them; but neither silver nor gold allaysthe craving for money, nor does the greed of gain ever cease from acquiring new gains.No; one can say to wealth as to a pretentious physician:Your physic but increases the disease.""...Those on the other hand who part with nothing, though they have great possessions,but always want greater, would strike one who remembered what Aristippus said as evenmore absurd. 'If a man eats and drinks a great deal,' he used to say, 'but is never filled, he sees a physician, inquires what ails him, what is wrong with his system, and how to ridhimself of the disorder..."'

Harry Vederchi Mon, 12/18/2017 - 16:10 Permalink

Wake up you leftist superstitious crowd: tax money is WASTED.Not that government cannot produce anything, but whatever useful production is more than offset by the changes induced and people acting in their own interest (knowingly so or not), both to escape loot or to take advantage of the bounty.People's decisions make economy a fluid, while the legislator thinks of it as a solid.Whereas money that escapes taxation can be saved, ie used for investments, which provide for productivity, which in turn provides for actual living standard growth.REASON PROVES that taxes are inept. People who stick to their prehudices in spite of logic are SUPERSTITIOUS.

dunce Tue, 12/19/2017 - 00:08 Permalink

Few wealthy successful people are willing to get into politics because of having to work with corrupt politicians. Accepting a leadership role is an act of patriotism.