Chile’s Michelle Bachelet set to re­tire from pol­i­tics af­ter term ex­pires in 2018

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s first woman pres­i­dent, said Tues­day she will never again seek public of­fice af­ter her term ex­pires in 2018, as a cor­rup­tion scan­dal in­volv­ing her son bat­ters her pop­u­lar­ity.

“It’s ob­vi­ous I will never be a can­di­date again for any elected po­lit­i­cal of­fice,” she told jour­nal­ists.

Bachelet has been a tow­er­ing fig­ure on the Chilean po­lit­i­cal scene since first win­ning the pres­i­dency in 2005.

She left of­fice in 2010 with an ap­proval rat­ing of 83 per­cent, then, barred from serv­ing a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive term, surged back to power in the De­cem­ber 2013 elec­tion, win­ning 62 per­cent of the vote and be­com­ing the first pres­i­dent to serve more than one term since Chile’s re­turn to democ­racy in 1990.

But her pop­u­lar­ity has tum­bled to around 30 per­cent since ac­cu­sa­tions emerged that her el­dest child, Se­bas­tian Dava­los, used his po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence to get his wife, Natalia Com­pagnon, a US$10 mil­lion (NT$309 mil­lion) bank loan.

Com­pagnon’s com­pany used the money to buy prop­erty that was then slated for ur­ban re­zon­ing, sell­ing the land at a US$5 mil­lion profit.

Bachelet de­nies any prior knowl­edge of the loan, but the scan­dal has se­ri­ously dented her im­age as a re­former.

Un­der Chile’s con­sti­tu­tion, which bars con­sec­u­tive pres­i­den­tial terms, Bachelet is not el­i­gi­ble for im­me­di­ate re­elec­tion, but she could serve in Congress or other elected of­fice.

Bachelet said Chile was suf­fer­ing a “cri­sis of con­fi­dence” over the scan­dal and two oth­ers in­volv­ing tax fraud and il­le­gal cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions by two of the coun­try’s largest com­pa­nies, the Penta group and min­ing firm So­quimich.

“I’m wor­ried by this cli­mate of sus­pi­cion in the face of ev­ery­thing,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.