SANTIAGO, Chile - Right-wing billionaire Sebastian Pinera beat three leftists in yesterday's presidential election but failed to obtain a majority, setting up a runoff against a veteran of the coalition that has ruled Chile for two decades of democracy.

The Harvard-educated Pinera had 44 percent to 30 percent for the ruling center-left coalition's candidate, former President Eduardo Frei.

Breakaway Socialist Rep. Marco Enriquez-Ominami had 20 percent, and communist Jorge Arrate had 6 percent, with 98 percent of the votes counted.

The key question in the Jan. 17 runoff between Pinera and Frei is whether leftists can unify to fend off the most moderate candidate Chile's right has ever had.

A win by Pinera, 60, would install a right-wing government in Chile for the first time since Gen. Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship - but only if Pinera persuades enough leftists to take a chance on him.

"We have to understand that this win doesn't belong to us," Pinera said in a victory speech to his party. "It belongs to all Chileans, to the humble people, to the poor and the middle class, the people who most need change from their government."

Frei appealed for leftists to come together, saying he would take on his rivals' ideas as if they were his own. He said women and young people would have a prominent place in his government and that he would push for reforms to end the big alliances' domination of the political process.

"The people have told us that there are things they don't like, that things must change, and I share this mission," said Frei, 67.

But even though he may be encouraging a right-wing victory, Enriquez-Ominami refused to endorse Frei in his concession speech, instead inviting his followers to vote their consciences.

"Eduardo Frei and Sebastian Pinera are too much alike," he complained. "They don't represent hope, nor change, nor the future."

Stability and experience are selling points for Frei, who governed from 1994 to 2000.

"We don't want leaps into the unknown, nor do we want to return to the past," he said after voting.

But many voters are fed up with having the same government throughout 19 years of democracy following Pinochet. Promising change, Pinera and Enriquez-Ominami challenged the ruling coalition like never before.

The government's general secretary, Jose Antonio Viera-Gallo, immediately called on supporters of the other leftist candidates to come together, saying that the vote makes it clear that the people want Frei in the second round.

But many voters are fed up with having the same government throughout 19 years of democracy following Pinochet. Promising change, Pinera and Enriquez-Ominami challenged the ruling coalition like never before.

While outgoing President Michelle Bachelet has 78 percent approval ratings, inflation is negligible, and poverty has been cut to 13 percent, a huge wealth gap between rich and poor and a chronically underfunded education system have many voters feeling more must be done to redistribute Chile's wealth, mainly from its copper reserves.

Pinera ranked No. 701 with $1 billion on the Forbes magazine world's richest list. He built his fortune bringing credit cards to Chile, and his investments include Chile's main airline, most popular football team, and a leading TV channel. He has promised to bring the same entrepreneurial spirit to governing Chile.