|Chilean presidential candidate for the New Majority coalition Michelle Bachelet, makes a statement to the press after casting her vote during the run-off presidential election in Santiago, capital ofChile, on Dec. 15, 2013. Chileans went to the polls on Sunday for a run-off vote between conservative Evelyn Matthei and Socialist former president Michelle Bachelet, an unprecedented race for the top office between two female candidates. (Xinhua/Jorge Villegas)|
SANTIAGO, Dec. 15 -- Chile's former president Michelle Bachelet, the center-left New Majority opposition candidate, won the second-round vote on Sunday by 62 percent against 38 percent for her rival Evelyn Matthei of the ruling conservative party, Chile's Electoral Service (Servel) announced.
Bachelet garnered nearly 3.5 million votes compared to just over 2 million votes for Matthei.
Bachelet made history for the second time Sunday, winning a presidential runoff to become the first woman in Chile to be elected president twice.
She served as Chile's first female president from 2006 to 2010.
"It's clear she won and I congratulate her," Matthei told reporters soon after Bachelet's overwhelming lead became clear.
The two candidates led an initial round of voting in Nov. 17 general elections, which saw Bachelet garner 46 percent of the votes and Matthei came in second, with 25 percent.
Bachelet had long been the favored candidate to succeed President Sebastian Pinera, but her chances of winning the first round with the required minimum 50 percent of the votes were torpedoed by the independent candidate and the progressive party candidate, each drew some 10 percent of the votes.
Barred by law from serving a second consecutive term, Bachelet left Chile after her first term and worked as executive director of United Nations Women, the UN agency dealing with women's affairs.
Bachelet, born in Santiago on Sept. 29, 1951, studied military science at Chile's National Academy of Strategy and Policy, and the Inter-American Defense College in the United States.
In 1975, Bachelet, along with her mother, an archeologist, was held for about two weeks at Villa Grimaldi, a notorious torture center after her father Alberto Bachelet, an air force brigadier general, died in prison in March 1974 as a victim of torture for opposing the regime of former military ruler Augusto Pinochet.
Bachelet and her mother later went to Austria and Germany. She became a member of the Socialist Party after returning home in 1979.
Bachelet served as health minister from March 2000 to January 2002 and defense minister from January 2002 to October 2004, becoming the first woman to hold the post in the history of Chile and Latin America.
In January 2005, she was named the Socialist Party's presidential candidate.
At a run-off in January 2006, Bachelet won the presidency with 53.5 percent of votes and served until March 2010. She also served as president pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations from 2008 to 2009, and executive director of United Nations Women from 2010 to 2013.
During the campaign, she proposed three major reforms: to make free education a right, to make changes to tax laws in a bid to raise 8.5 billion U.S. dollars to finance the educational sector, and to adopt a new constitution.