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Last Updated: Monday, 16 January 2006, 15:48 GMT
Chilean press hails Bachelet win
Bachelet is Chile's first female president

Newspapers in Chile enthusiastically welcome the election of Michelle Bachelet as the next president, believing her victory marks an important milestone in the nation's history.

Commentators view the single mother of three as a force for peace and prosperity who can ensure that economic success and social justice proceed in tandem in the years ahead.

Bachelet's life runs parallel to the course of our history
La Nacion
La Nacion argues that "Bachelet's arrival at La Moneda Palace is a civic achievement that will have a huge impact on our social and cultural development".

"Michelle Bachelet represents a quiet renaissance in the style with which we men and women of Chile now do politics," it says.

"We men and women of Chile have learnt what an active, dignified and responsible civic movement is capable of achieving... Bachelet's life runs parallel to the course of our history."

The La Nacion editorial concludes: "Between yesterday and today, we men and women of Chile have thrown the doors to civic maturity wide open. With Michelle Bachelet, Chile has even more of a future."

"A historic victory," declares La Tercera, describing Ms Bachelet as "a political phenomenon".

"Michelle Bachelet's clear victory in yesterday's election is a double milestone in Chilean history," the editorial notes, pointing to the fact that Chile will get its first woman president and the leftist alliance had found just the candidate to boost its image after 16 years in power.

It also has a message for the rightist opposition: "The time has come to conduct a far-reaching analysis to explain yesterday's result and its inability to offer a credible alternative to the majority of the electorate."

"Instead of looking for the reasons outside its ranks, it should look inwards, searching out the roots of the problem and what to do about it."

'Exemplary conduct'

Estrategia also hails the "exemplary civic conduct" of the overall electoral process.

The new cabinet is likely to be full of new faces and a significant number of women
El Mercurio
"Although there were political confrontations, this did not result in any interference in economic or business affairs, which reflects very well on Chile, its civic maturity and the solidity of its institutions," the paper says.

"We are convinced that if the campaign pledges are made a reality under Bachelet's administration, the country will be able to take advantage of the favourable opportunities that lie on the horizon."

Another editorial in La Tercera points to the fact that the Bachelet administration will take Chile towards the bicentennial of its foundation as an independent state in 2010.

La Tercera argues that the government be well placed to ensure that "good news from the exterior" in the form of increasing demands for raw materials from China, the US and Japan could lead to more equitable income distribution.

This could be achieved within a generation, it believes, allowing Chile to finally classify itself as a "developed nation".

The leading conservative paper, El Mercurio, carries the headline: "Michelle Bachelet, historic first female president of Chile."

It says a Bachelet administration is likely to be "more collective" in its decision-making than the outgoing government of President Lagos. It says her new cabinet is likely to be "full of new faces and a significant number of women".

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

Country profile: Chile
12 Dec 05 |  Country profiles

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