Chile's president congratulates Bachelet on winning presidential run-off

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16.12.2013 - 08:21

Chile's president congratulates Bachelet on winning presidential run-off 
2013-12-16 06:28:40  

     SANTIAGO, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chilean incumbent President Sebastian Pinera Sunday called and congratulated Michelle Bachelet on winning the presidential run-off.

     "I want to congratulate you. You have won a great victory and Chileans have spoken loud and clear," said Pinera in a telephone call to Bachelet broadcast on TV.

     "I want to wish you the utmost success," added the conservative Pinera.

     Bachelet said "I am very pleased with the outcome and the solid victory, which leaves no doubt that early next year, I will become president of all Chileans." Bachelet, 62, won the run-off with 62 percent of the votes and will take office on March 11, 2014.

     Bachelet of the center-left New Majority coalition and a former president and Evelyn Matthei, candidate of the ruling Coalition for Change, contested into the Sunday run-off as no candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the votes in the first round last month to win an outright victory.

     Matthei, a former labor minister, received 38 percent of the votes.

     Later, Pinera pledged cooperation, saying "I want to assure that she will have patriotic collaboration toward a better life for all Chileans."

     Pinera also hailed the election process, saying it "brought honor to our democratic tradition."

     The turnout on Sunday was low, with just 47 percent of the 13 million eligible voters going to polls.

     Bachelet, a mother of three, made history by becoming the first woman in Chile to be elected president twice. She served as Chile's first female president from 2006 to 2010.

     During her first term as president, Bachelet reformed the pension system, improved health and social services and focused on the well-being of Chile's working class and elderly.

     Bachelet joined the Socialist Youth as a teenager while her father became a close adviser to elected socialist President Salvador Allende.

      Bachelet served as health minister from March 2000 to January 2002 and defense minister from January 2002 to October 2004.

     During her campaign this time, she proposed three major reforms: to make free education a right, to make changes to tax laws to finance the educational sector and to adopt a new constitution.  Enditem