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Elections In Chile

Presidential candidate and former President Michelle Bachelet in Santiago, Chile.
Presidential candidate and former President Michelle Bachelet in Santiago, Chile.

The United States congratulates President-elect Michelle Bachelet.

Michelle Bachelet has been elected as the next president of Chile. With 99 percent of votes counted, Dr. Bachelet garnered 62 percent of the vote, according to election officials. Evelyn Matthei of the conservative Independent Democratic Union party received over 37 percent of the vote and conceded the election.

Elections In Chile
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Dr. Bachelet campaigned on promises of pension reform, income growth, environmentally conscious expansion of energy resources, and improved relations with neighboring nations. While Chile has enjoyed significant economic growth in recent years, income inequality remains a challenge. Some 10 percent of Chileans earn up to 60 percent of the national income. This is widely seen and cited as an obstacle to continued economic growth in the country.

Dr. Bachelet, a Socialist Party candidate, was president from 2006 to 2010. She was the first female president of Chile and left office with high approval ratings. Presidents are prohibited from seeking immediate re-election.

In 2010, she was tapped to head U.N. Women, a United Nations agency created to promote gender equality around the world.

Chile’s constitution requires a presidential candidate to receive more than 50 percent of the vote to win. Michelle Bachelet came closest to receiving a majority of the votes after the first-round election on November 17. She received 46 percent of the votes, 20 percentage points ahead of her closet rival. Still, the sizable lead was not enough to avoid a second round in December. She decisively won the second round.

The United States congratulates President-elect Bachelet on her election. President Obama called President-elect Bachelet on December 18 to congratulate her. They spoke about strengthening bilateral cooperation in the areas of science, technology, and the environment and about Chile’s role in the UN Security Council. The Chilean people have once again demonstrated their commitment to democratic values. Since its successful transition from a military government, Chile has emerged as a model of democratic governance.

The United States and Chile share a strong relationship based on their commitments to democratic ideals, human rights, and economic opportunity.

The United States values the warm collaboration it has enjoyed during President Sebastian Pinera’s administration and looks forward to working with President-elect Michelle Bachelet when the new administration takes office in March.