Ex-Chilean president seeks comeback
SANTIAGO — Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet ended months of speculation on Wednesday by announcing she will run in a November presidential election that she is favored to win.
A popular center-leftist who ruled the copper-exporting nation from 2006 to 2010, Bachelet will likely face a candidate from the right-wing bloc of President Sebastian Pinera, who is barred from seeking a consecutive term under the constitution.
Front-runners for the ruling coalition's candidacy are charismatic businessman and former Public Works Minister Laurence Golborne and former Defense Minister Andres Allamand, a seasoned politician.
“I've taken some time to think about this decision … And with happiness, with determination and much humility, I've taken the decision to be a (presidential) candidate,” Bachelet said in Santiago, days after she quit her job as the head of U.N. Women.
Bachelet's return after months of speculation is a great relief to her fractured left-wing coalition, which Pinera ousted from a 20-year rule. She is expected to face little competition in the primaries. Bachelet, a pediatrician-turned-politician, was one of Chile's most popular presidents.
Voters liked her affable manner, welfare policies and credited her for solid economic growth in one of Latin America's most stable, business-friendly countries.
Her high-profile U.N. post and time away from local politics have boosted her popularity, political analysts say, and opinion polls show her with a wide lead over other potential candidates.
In a poll published by pollster CEP, 49 percent of those surveyed said they wanted Bachelet to be Chile's next president, versus 11 percent for Golborne.