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Chile’s Bachelet unveils policy proposals

October 28, 2013

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chilean presidential front-runner Michelle Bachelet has proposed an ambitious $15 billion spending program that includes deep reforms in taxes and education.

The Socialist was Chile’s president from 2006 to 2010, and she’s expected to retake the presidency during the Nov. 17 presidential election or in a potential runoff on Dec. 15.

Bachelet said on Sunday that Chile continues to suffer from vast inequality and dictatorship-era policies that affect poor Chileans the most. She plans to strengthen labor unions, improve public services and use about $8 billion from taxes to fund an education overhaul.

Bachelet said she’ll work to give Chileans free, quality education because “education is a social right and not a consumer good.” She plans to partly fund education reform by hiking corporate taxes by 5 percentage points.

Student protests demanding free education marked the final years of her term and boiled over during the administration of her conservative successor, Sebastian Pinera.

Bachelet favors legalizing abortion in cases of rape or risks to the health of the pregnant woman or the child. The pediatrician spent the past several years heading the United Nations agency for women.

If elected, Bachelet, said she will call for “an open debate” to reach consensus and pass a law granting gay couples the right to marry.

Bachelet is polling between 30 and 40 percent. Her closest rival is conservative Evelyn Matthei. She trails far behind, polling between 12 and 22 percent.


Luis Andres Henao on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LuisAndresHenao

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