by Bill O’Grady
On November 17th, Chileans went to the polls to vote on a new president and parliament. Polls correctly forecasted that Michelle Bachelet, who was president from 2006-10, would win a plurality. She won a whopping 47% of the vote, beating seven other candidates handily. The second place finisher, Evelyn Matthei, won 25% of the vote. These two women, who are friends from childhood, will face each other in a runoff election on December 15th.
In this report, we offer short biographies of the two candidates, focusing mostly on Bachelet. From there, we will provide a short history of Chile, primarily to highlight the tensions between the forces of liberalization and reaction. An examination of the Allende-Pinochet period will detail the factors that have affected Chile’s political structure over the past five decades. Recent student protests frame a significant demographic change that is affecting Chilean politics and moving the country beyond the issues experienced in the 1970s. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.