18 Jan 2010

Conservative wins election in Chile

4:05 pm on 18 January 2010

Conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera has won the second round of presidential elections in Chile, ending two decades of centre-left rule.

Social Democrat Eduardo Frei conceded defeat after results from 60% of polling stations showed Mr Pinera with 52% of the vote to Mr Frei's 48%.

Mr Pinera promised a tough law-and-order programme and vowed to use his business know-how to boost the economy.

Incumbent President Michelle Bachelet was barred by law from standing again.

Mr Pinera is Chile's first democratically elected conservative leader for more than half a century.

He won 44% of the vote in the first round last month, well ahead of Mr Frei, the governing Social Democrat candidate.

Mr Pinera, 60, owns a television channel and a stake in Chile's most successful football club.

He has promised to increase investment, fight crime and create one million jobs.

He has also promised to cut taxes for small businesses and make government more efficient.

It was the second time he had run for the presidency.