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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 10:40 GMT
Chile presidential campaign ends
Candidates Tomas Hirsch, Sebastian Pinera, Michelle Bachelet and Joaquin Lavin during the TV debate in November
The main candidates hold a TV debate last month
Candidates in Chile have ended their campaigning ahead of Sunday's vote, which could see the election of the country's first woman president.

Opinion polls suggest that socialist Michelle Bachelet, 54, is in the lead.

She has almost twice as much support as her nearest rivals, businessman Sebastian Pinera and Santiago ex-mayor Joaquin Lavin, both from the right.

If elected, she would be the fourth president in a row from the coalition known as the Concertacion.

Earlier, Ms Bachelet cancelled her final campaign rally after a bus crash killed four of her supporters and the driver of the coach.

A number of activists from her Socialist Party were also injured in the accident, among them a nephew of Ms Bachelet.

The accident happened as the bus was returning from a rally outside Santiago.

Both Mr Pinera and Lavin held their final rallies in the Chilean capital on Wednesday.

Possible run-off

Ms Bachelet is a single mother who was tortured under General Augusto Pinochet's military rule.

In recent weeks, polls suggest her support has slipped, as well as Mr Lavin's, while Mr Pinera's popularity has increased.

A fourth candidate, Tomas Hirsch from the left-wing, is lagging well behind, polls suggest.

Observers say the vote on 11 December could go to a run-off, as none of the contenders is likely to win the 50% required for an outright victory.

This will be the fourth presidential election since the end of Gen Pinochet's regime in 1990.

The country has been governed by the Concertacion since then.

More than eight million Chileans are registered for Sunday's election. They will also choose 120 deputies and 20 senators.

See the candidates running for Chile's presidency

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