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Michelle Bachelet has just been elected Chilean president for a second time! (She first served from 2006 to 2010, after which election laws mandated she stand down.) Isabel sent me this note from Chile, which makes clear how happy she is! I’m happy, too…though I had asked Isabel to send me a photo of her and Michelle; clearly it was too tall an order!
Here is what Isabel had to say:
Michelle Bachelet won by more than 62% of the votes, a stunning but expected victory. I went (by invitation) to the Hotel Plaza San Francisco in downtown Santiago, where she had her headquarters. It was packed with VIP supporters, politicians, former presidents, press, etc. They closed the adjacent streets but I had a driver and a pass and could park inside the building. By 7pm it was obvious that Michelle had won; soon after, Evelyn Mathei, the conservative candidate, and President Sebastian conceded. By 8pm the cheering crowd had blocked the streets; I could barely get home. The election was transparent and peaceful but few people bothered to vote. Voting used to be compulsory in Chile, until the right wing government of Piñera made it optional. Although senior citizens showed up early at the voting places, young people didn’t really participate in the process, probably because they have not lived under a dictatorship and don’t value democracy as they should. I am sorry, Sarah. I forgot to get a photo for Facebook, etc. when I went to vote at 11am, and it was almost impossible to get one with Michelle during the celebration at her headquarters in the evening. My parents opened a bottle of champagne, and now I am tired, very happy and a little drunk. I wish you were here, celebrating with us.