Archive for Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Politician wins praise as symbol of reconciliation

January 17, 2006

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President-elect Michelle Bachelet, a socialist who was jailed and tortured by Chile's military junta, began putting together her administration Monday while promising to give all Chileans a voice - and a better deal.

"Because I was the victim of hatred, I have dedicated my life to reverse that hatred and turn it into understanding, tolerance and - why not say it - into love," she said after her victory in Sunday's runoff election against a conservative businessman.

Bachelet, the first woman president in this socially conservative Roman Catholic country, promised "a new Chile that we will all build," vowing a government that will listen to a broader range of voices and include a lot more women.

She has come to symbolize Chile's reconciliation after the brutal divisions spawned by a bloody 1973 military coup and 17 years of dictatorship under Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

Bachelet won 53 percent of the vote Sunday, against 46 percent for right-leaning Sebastian Pinera.

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