Sunday, January 15, 2006


Michelle BacheletAnd now Chile.

Also here, from Las Últimas noticias, and here from La Tercera; El Mercurio has yet to register the news... update, that's not quite fair as El Mercurio Online, a separate site, has, under the subhead "Histórico triunfo de la candidata de la Concertación".

Only the second woman to be elected head of state in South America, a socialist and former detainee under Pinochet, a single mother in a country that only legalized divorce last year.

(Other elected women heads of state in the region: Violetta Chamorro, Nicaragua, in 1990; Janet Jagan, Guyana, in 1997; and Mireya Moscoso, Panama, in 1999. The first woman head of state in the Americas was Isabel Perón, from 1974 to 1976, who assumed power on the death of her husband. Indeed, all these four were widows of prominent public figures.)

Here's Michelet's campaign blog. Its post-victory entry stresses the affective, reading in part:
Still it's not words that matter today, but the emotion, the embraces, the happiness of the friends with whom we have shared this long campaign, all those who put up posters, went door to door, convinced a friend to share a dream, the possible dream of a fairer country in which a woman who was once the victim of hate is today the President-elect of Chile . . . We have made history. But that history has only just begun.
And el teléfono rojo, a group blog dedicated to covering the election. Who note that one Chilean TV channel showed Bullworth immediately after concluding its election coverage.

See also Matthew Søberg Shugart, who at Fruits and Votes stresses the continuities rather than the changes registered by this election, in that "It has now been 48 years since Chileans elected a president who was neither a Socialist nor a Christian Democrat". Which is true enough, but the move within the Concertación from Frei to Lagos to Bachelet is also definitely a leftward drift. (While the Concertación and the Unidad Popular are hardly cut from the same cloth.)

But for a well-merited word of caution, here's Marc Cooper: "Her potential to enact more than symbolic change, however, is something that must be viewed with a certain dose of skepticism". Echoed by Beautiful Horizons, who underlines particularly the issue of military finances.

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