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Chile's Bachelet promises reforms after landslide election win

Center-leftist Michelle Bachelet has promised major tax and education reforms to help ease Chile's social divisions, a day after she swept back to power with a huge majority in presidential elections.

Bachelet won with about 62 percent support, the highest share of votes for any presidential candidate since the country returned to holding democratic elections in 1989.

Yesterday's landslide victory against Evelyn Matthei, the sharp-tongued conservative candidate of the governing coalition, puts Bachelet back in the Moneda presidential palace after a four-year gap and gives her a mandate to push for an education overhaul and the fiscal reforms to help pay for it.

Attention now turns to the details of her program and who will be in her Cabinet. "We will do everything we can so when we get to March we can immediately start governing with all the energy, dynamism and effort that is needed to fulfill the mandate handed us by the people," Bachelet said at a news conference today.

She is slated to take office in March. Bachelet ran on a platform of social policies to address a deep divide between rich and poor.

Chile, the world's top copper-exporting nation, is ranked the most unequal country in the 34-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"She will govern a country with profound demands for change," Senator Ricardo Lagos Weber of Bachelet's New Majority coalition explained. "The country isn't flat on its back, it is healthy, organized, growing economically, creating jobs and improving salaries. But it is also deeply unequal."
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Tags:  Chile. Bachelet  elections  


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