Chilean right wing makes gains in local elections

Santiago - Chilean conservatives won a majority of mayoral seats in weekend elections, narrowly beating the ruling centre-left coalition for the first time since 1990.

Right-wing mayoral candidates won in the key municipalities of Santiago, Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, Temuco, Concepcion, Iquique, Rancagua, Talca and Punta Arenas.

The Alliance for Chile won 40 per cent of the total mayoral votes to 38 per cent for the ruling coalition, which did manage to keep the overall lead in seats on municipal councils by a margin of 45 to 36 per cent.

President Michelle Bachelet acknowledged the mixed results as a wakeup call for the coalition.

"It is valuable that the government after 18 years receive a new demonstration of confidence from the citizens," she said. "In any event, it needs a renewal, to listen to the word on the streets, to hear the message and inject a new dynamism into its political activity."

Political analysts said the electoral losses would likely prompt Bachelet to make changes in her cabinet before the end of year. (dpa)