SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera trounced his center-left opponent in Chile’s presidential runoff on Sunday, causing markets to jump on Monday in hopes of more business-friendly policies.
Below are the main proposals from Pinera, who will take over from center-left President Michellle Bachelet on March 11.
- Pinera wants to cut corporate taxes to increase investment. He has said he would pay for his proposals by cutting “unnecessary” government spending, imposing strict fiscal austerity and using increased revenue from a stronger economy.
- Pinera’s $14 billion, four-year spending plan includes $2.7 billion in new investments in infrastructure and hospitals. He says his policies would double Chile’s economic growth and eliminate poverty by 2025.
- Pinera wants to revitalize and increase competition in Chile’s private pension system. He would introduce subsidies to raise pensions for women and the middle class, as well as incentives to encourage workers to retire later.
- Pinera said he would provide free technical education to the country’s poorest students, reflecting a moderating stance on the issue. Pinera’s first-term was marred by incessant street protests by thousands of students seeking an education overhaul.
- In an appeal to centrist voters after the first round, he said he also supported a new public pension option to compete with the private funds, which have been criticized for delivering inadequate payouts.
- Pinera and his presidential runoff opponent, Alejandro Guillier, both agreed on the need to repeal state-run copper producer Codelco’s mandatory contribution of 10 percent of profits to the military, a rule dating back to the dictatorship that ended in 1990. Pinera wants Codelco to deploy a “realistic investment plan using existing resources” and to focus on existing assets rather than new projects.
- Despite Pinera’s pro-business agenda, he has publicly criticized top lithium producer SQM’s controlling shareholder Julio Ponce, a sign he may not help the Chile-based company clinch a higher production quota as many investors are hoping. [nL1N1OC02K]
Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Steve Orlofsky