Massive rallies end Chile's presidential race

Socialist Bachelet leads polls, as conservative Pinera vows to create one million jobs

Thousands of Chileans cheered Thursday night the two candidates in Chile's presidential runoff vote. According to recent polls, socialist Michelle Bachelet holds a narrow lead against conservative tycoon Sebastian Pinera, who promised to create one million jobs and curb crime if elected, during a rally in Valparaiso, the country's second largest city and seat of the National Congress.Sebastian Pinera and Michelle Bachelet

Meanwhile, Bachelet, told more than 50,000 supporters in the capital Santiago that she is convinced she will be elected Chile's first female president and vowed "a government of national unity." Her rally opened with a musical show led by four top Spanish singers who said they performed for free as a show of support. They were Miguel Bose, Ana Belen, Victor Manuel and Ismael Serrano.

She vowed to work "to build a country where nobody will be sentenced to live in poverty, where day after day we will work toward an even freer society." Bachelet also paid tribute to those tortured and killed during the US-backed dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. "It was the darkest time in Chile's history," she said before the crowd.

Bachelet, 54, and Pinera, 56, faceoff Sunday after a first round of voting among four candidates on Dec. 11 failed to produce a victor with a majority. Bachelet placed first with 45.9 percent of the vote followed by Pinera with 25.4 percent. Bachelet led in all pre-election opinion polls. The last poll, published Thursday by the independent research agency Mori, gave her 45 percent of the vote to Pinera's 40 percent.

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Author`s name Olga Savka