The Latest: Pinera backers celebrate victory in Chile vote

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Posted: Dec 17, 2017 6:34 PM
The Latest: Pinera backers celebrate victory in Chile vote

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The latest on Chile's presidential runoff election (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Supporters of former Chilean President Sebastian Pinera are out in the streets across the nation to celebrate the conservative billionaire's easy victory in Sunday presidential runoff election.

Some are waving flags and holding banners, while others are beeping car horns and screaming out the last name of the former airline magnate who previously governed Chile in 2010-2014.

His rival, center-left Sen. Alejandro Guillier, conceded defeat. Guillier had been supported by current President Michelle Bachelet, who phoned Pinera to congratulate him.

Officials say Pinera has 54.6 percent of the votes to nearly 45.4 percent for Guillier, with nearly all votes counted.

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8:10 p.m.

Conservative billionaire and former President Sebastian Pinera has easily won Chile's presidential runoff election, moving the world's top-copper producing country back to the right in the footsteps of other Latin American nations.

His rival, center-left Sen. Alejandro Guillier, conceded the defeat to his supporters and said that he had called Pinera to congratulate him.

Officials say Pinera has 54.6 percent of the votes to nearly 45.4 percent for Guillier, with nearly all votes counted.

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7:55 p.m.

The left-of-center candidate in Chile's presidential runoff election has conceded victory to billionaire former President Sebastian Pinera.

Sen. Alejandro Guillier told his supporters Sunday night that he had lost and said he called the conservative Pinera to offer congratulations.

Officials say the former president has just under 55 percent of the votes to 45 percent for Guillier, with 96 percent of the votes counted.

Analysts had expected a closer race, but there had not been any opinion polls on the campaign for several weeks.

The results prompted Pinera supporters to celebrate at the campaign headquarters and take to the streets of the Chilean capital waving national flags.

Pinera won last month's first round, but his 36.6 percent vote share fell far short of what polls had projected. Guillier got 22.7 percent in the first round and was counting on support from backers of other left-leaning candidates who were eliminated.

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7:10 p.m.

Billionaire Sebastian Pinera has the lead in Chile's presidential runoff election, with just under half the votes counted.

Officials say the former president has just over 54 percent of the votes to nearly 46 percent for center-left Sen. Alejandro Guillier.

Analysts had predicted a closer race, but there had not been any opinion polls on the election for several weeks.

The early results prompted Pinera supporters to celebrate at the campaign headquarters.

Pinera won last month's first round, but his 36.6 percent vote share fell far short of what polls had projected. Guillier got 22.7 percent in the first round and was counting on support from backers of other left-leaning candidates who were eliminated.

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6:30 p.m.

Polls have closed for what is expected to be a tight Chilean presidential runoff election that will decide if the world's top copper-producing nation swings to the right or maintains its center-left path.

Voters chose between conservative billionaire and former President Sebastian Pinera and Sen. Alejandro Guillier, a center-left former journalist.

Pinera won last month's first round, but his 36.6 percent vote share fell far short of what polls had projected.

Guillier who got 22.7 percent in the first round and counted on support from backers of other left-leaning candidates who were eliminated.

Chile's 30,000 voting stations closed at 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT). The first results are expected around 5:30 p.m. EST (2230 GMT).