Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chile: Former President Michelle Bachelet Expected to Become President Again on November 17

Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jería, 62, a former head of state representing the center-left New Majority, is expected to defeat the governing rightist coalition outright in Chile’s November 17 presidential election, a poll released Tuesday (October 29) predicts.

Bachelet, who served as Chile's President during  2006-2010, enjoys support from 47% of potential voters, compared with 14% for Evelyn Matthei, according to the survey by respected polling group, CEP.

Independent right-wing candidate Franco Parisi will receive 10% and the nominee of the Progressive Party, Marco Enriquez-Ominami, will garner only 7% of the electorate, the survey predicts.   

Excluding null votes and blank ballots, Bachelet would trounce Matthei by 60% to 17%, CEP reported.

Thus, if the polling results hold true in the actual election, it would not be necessary to hold a runoff provisionally set for December 15.

In addition, considering the results of surveys of voters who said they will certainly vote, those who will probably vote, those who voted in past municipal elections and those who expressed an interest in voting, Bachelet would obtain 52-54% compared with 16-19% for Matthei.

The CEP survey, which were made public 19 days before the election and a few hours before the candidates’ second debate, also indicates that President Sebastian Piñera has an approval rating of only 35%.

Matthei and Bachelet, both the offspring of air force generals, were childhood friends, but their paths diverged sharply after the September 11, 1973, military coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende.

Bachelet’s father, who opposed the coup, died as a result of torture by Matthei’s father who became a member of the junta.

COMMENT: Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria was born September 29, 1951, is a Chilean Socialist politician who served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010. 

She resigned from UN Women in March 2013 to run for a second term as President of Chile, now with the support of the Communist Party in addition to the parties that supported her previous presidential term.

The former president won the 2006 presidential election in a runoff, beating center-right and former senator Sebastián Piñera with 53.5% of the vote. She campaigned on a platform of continuing Chile's free-market policies.

Bachelet, a physician with studies in military strategy, served as Health Minister and Defense Minister under her predecessor, President Ricardo Lagos. She is a separated mother of three and describes herself as an agnostic.

As well as her native Spanish, she speaks English, German, Portuguese and French with varying levels of fluency.