Chile's Former President Sebastian Pinera bagged 54.6 percent of the votes to 45.4 percent for center-left Alejandro Guillier, with nearly all the ballots counted.

Chilean presidential candidate Sebastian Pinera attends his campaign closing rally in Santiago, Chile, December 14, 2017.
Chilean presidential candidate Sebastian Pinera attends his campaign closing rally in Santiago, Chile, December 14, 2017. (Reuters)

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

Officials said Pinera got 54.6 percent of the votes to 45.4 percent for center-left Alejandro Guillier, with nearly all the ballots counted.

Guillier conceded defeat to his supporters and outgoing President Michelle Bachelet called Pinera to offer congratulations.

The results prompted Pinera supporters to celebrate at his campaign headquarters. Many took to streets nationwide waving flags and holding banners, while others beeped car horns and screamed out the last name of the former airline magnate who previously governed Chile in 2010-2014.

Turnout was expected to be low because in contrast to other regional countries, Chile made voting voluntary rather than mandatory in 2012.

TRT World's Graciela Ibanez has more from Santiago. 

First round of election

Pinera, 68, 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.

Guillier, 64, was backed by Bachelet, but many Chileans have been disillusioned by lagging economic growth under her watch, a problem based largely on lower international prices for copper, which is the backbone of Chile's economy. 

Many leftists also feel she wavered on her promises of profound social changes in labor and education policies.

Guillier, a former TV anchor, had vowed to continue Bachelet's plan to increase corporate taxes to partly finance an education overhaul, reform the constitution and improve the pension and health care system.

Pinera's resounding victory underscored the fracture at Bachelet's New Majority left-wing coalition and the rise of conservative leaders at the ballot box in recent years in other regional countries, including Argentina, Paraguay and Peru.

What Pinera proposes

Pinera struggled with large protests over Chile's inequality and demands for education reform during his first term as president, and left office with low popularity ratings. But he also oversaw annual economic growth of about 5 percent a year. 

The conservative politician now proposes to slash taxes on business to revive growth and vows to launch a $14 billion, four-year spending plan that includes fresh investments in infrastructure.

Pinera, a Harvard-trained economist who made his fortune introducing credit cards to Chile in the 1980s, said he would create a public pension fund to compete with Chile's much-criticised private pension funds, and expand free education.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies