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Chile’s Bachelet Bows Out after Turbulent Second Term

ISSN:1060-4189
LADB Article ID: 80559
Category/Department: Chile
Date: 2018-03-23
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

As the storm clouds of the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 began to dissipate and Chileans took stock of their situation, most felt that the country had fared surprisingly well, that things could have been far worse. Michelle Bachelet, then in her first term as president (2006-2010), saw her popularity numbers soar as a result and, by the time she left office, had a gaudy 80% approval rating. Eight years later—on March 11—the center-left leader completed her second term after returning to the presidency in 2014. Only this time around, there is a sense among many—including Bachelet’s allies and supporters—that things could have gone much better, that the results of her encore performance failed to match the high expectations. Upon leaving office this month, Bachelet’s approval rating stood at approximately 40%, just half of what it was at the end of her first term. Until recently the numbers were even worse, dipping to just 20% at one point, a post-dictatorship record. There’s also the unavoidable fact that Bachelet again ceded the presidency to the political right—and again to the same person: billionaire businessman Sebastián Piñera.

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