<\body> Stories in America: Chileans Support First Woman for President

Monday, December 12, 2005

Chileans Support First Woman for President

Michelle Bachelet, Chile's first woman candidate for president, won 45.8 percent of the vote in yesterday's election. She needed 50 percent to win. That means she'll face billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera, a moderate conservative, in next month's run-off election.

Bachelet, a divorced (divorce became legal in Chile just last year) socialist, comes from a politically charged family:
Bachelet, a pediatrician, was the daughter of an air force general who opposed the rule of Chile's former dictator, Augusto Pinochet. Her father was arrested on charges of treason and died in prison in 1974.

Bachelet and her mother were also briefly jailed before being allowed to go into exile in 1975, first in Australia then in East Germany. Bachelet returned to Chile in 1979, completing her medical studies in 1982.

The 90-year-old Pinochet remains under house arrest in Chile, facing human rights and corruption charges.

Bachelet has promised to overhaul the country's private pension system while continuing the free-market policies of her former boss, the outgoing president Ricardo Lagos.

Other than an article in the Washington Post that led with a description of Bachelet's outfit, the media has done a fairly good job of covering her candidacy. I hope the U.S. media follows suit when we elect our first woman candidate.


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