Chile has elected its first female leader and one of the first to congratulatethe victorious Michelle Bachelet was the man into whose shoes she will step.
“We have been talking about how to move forward in this period of transition in the most harmonious and efficient way possible,” she told reporters after meeting outgoing President Ricardo Lagos, in whose government she has served. Constitutionally barred from standing for another term himself, he couldn’t speak more highly of his successor. “For me it is a privilege to end my presidency by handing over to a woman like Michelle,” he said, after visiting Bachelet at her home. Both outgoing and incoming leaders are from the centre-left alliance that has run Chile since 1990. The new female president is expected to bring more women into public office. “It is good that a woman has become president,” said one man on the streets of Santiago. “We will now see what will happen in the country.” “It is spectacular,” added another. “I was hoping we would win by a lot. “The right-wing is never going to come back.” Michelle Bachelet took over 50 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s election, triumphing over moderate conservative rival Sebastian Pinera, one of Chile’s wealthiest men. She has pledged to bring more social equality to the country. Celebrations by her supporters went on well into the night.