A public opinion poll gauging the support of what are considered Chile's five main political leaders –and presidential hopefuls--, shows the head of the conservative opposition leading comfortably, but his runner up is closing in.
The December CERC poll, compared to the previous from September, has Sebastián Piñera ahead with 52% (up 5 points), and a distant second former president Eduardo Frei, --who has confirmed his intention of running for office again, with 27%--, up an impressive 15 points. Third rated in the multiple choice poll, comes the Organization of American States, OAS, Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza with 26% (up 9 points) followed by another former president Ricardo Lagos, 17% and Senator Soledad Alvear, until recently chairperson of the ruling coalition's senior partner, Christian Democrats. She figures with 12%, having lost 12 percentage points since September. The poll was taken December 5th. , one day after Socialist Ricardo Lagos withdrew his name from the coming presidential race. Since then another Socialist hopeful dropped out, Mr. Insulza, leaving the way open for Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei. Also most interesting a former conservative presidential candidate and mayor of the capital Santiago, Joaquín Lavín does not figure in the ranking. His name has been present in 47 of the 56 CERC polls taken in the last few years. When asked who do you believe will be Chile's next president? 53% of interviews mention Mr. Piñera, up three percentage points. Mr. Frei manages 8%, six points more than in the previous poll. But when asked who would you like to be Chile's next president? Mr. Piñera falls to 41% and Mr. Frei climbs to 9%. Summing up, according to Chilean political analysts, with eleven months before the presidential election, the country's two main political coalitions, the ruling Concertacion, and the opposition Alianza, seem to have reached a consensus as to their candidates. Billionaire conservative Sebastián Piñera next December could put an end to the twenty-year hegemony of the ruling Concertacion, unless former president Eduardo Frei can manage to revamp the so far successful, but eroded, Christian Democrat-Socialist "marriage".