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Chile

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Flag of Chile
Index
  1. Chile Main Page
  2. President Pinochet Presides Over a Ruthless Regime
  3. Socialists Return to Power
  4. Earthquake Devastates Beginning of Right-Wing Rule
  5. Fate of Trapped Miners Rivets the Nation
  6. Plan for Hydroelectric Dams Causes Outrage
  7. Chilean Youth Call for Reform
  8. Bachelet Regains the Presidency
Socialists Return to Power

Ricardo Lagos became president in March 2000, the first Socialist to run the country since Allende. Chile's economic growth slowed to 3% for 2001, partly the result of a drop in international copper prices and the economic turmoil in neighboring Argentina. In 2003, there were several minor financial scandals involving insider information and bribery. In response, Lagos introduced new reforms promising greater transparency. In 2004, Chile passed a law permitting divorce for the first time.

In 2006 presidential elections, Socialist Michelle Bachelet won 53% of the vote. The former pediatrician is a survivor of the Pinochet dictatorship, which was responsible for her father's death and subjected her to prison, torture, and exile. Bachelet took office on March 11, becoming Chile's first female chief of state. She promised to continue Chile's successful economic policies while increasing social spending. The president's first major challenge came when 700,000 of the nation's students organized a national boycott in May demanding educational reform. The students called off the strike in June after the government agreed to address their concerns.

In January 2008, president Bachelet swore in six new ministers to her 22-member cabinet. The major change was the appointment of Christian Democrat leader Edmundo Perez Yoma for Interior Minister, the top political post of the cabinet. Bachelet also replaced ministers of economy, public works, mining, agriculture, and planning. The cabinet changes are not expected to affect government policy.

Next: Earthquake Devastates Beginning of Right-Wing Rule
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