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Former Chilean President Announces Reelection Bid amid Conflict of Interest Questions

LADB Article ID: 80263
Category/Department: Chile
Date: 2017-04-07
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

The race to replace President Michelle Bachelet when her term expires in March 2018 has kicked off in earnest now that Sebastián Piñera, her immediate predecessor and the early frontrunner in a broad field of contenders, finally made his candidacy official. The billionaire businessman and political conservative made the long-anticipated announcement March 21 in a carefully staged, confetti-covered appearance at the Natural History Museum in central Santiago’s Quinta Normal park. The event was closed to the public and the location reportedly kept secret until the last minute as a way to avoid would-be protesters. In a marked departure from the more centrist-approach he took during his run for president in 2009, the rightist Piñera spent much of his speech lambasting the center-left Bachelet administration and painting a picture of Chile as a country that, after a sustained period of exemplary development, is in perilous decline. Piñera acknowledged that he, too, made mistakes as president but insisted that overall, his time in office was a success.

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