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PES congratulates Chile's new Social Democratic President

Michelle BacheletThe Party of European Socialists (PES) is pleased to celebrate today the inauguration of Chile's new Social Democratic President, Michelle Bachelet. Vice-President Jan Royall and Deputy Secretary General Marije Laffeber are in Chile to represent the PES.

In December 2013 Bachelet was elected by over 62% of Chilean voters, becoming the first person since 1932 to win a second competitive Presidential election in the country.

Speaking on behalf of the PES, Jan Royall said: "This is an important day for Chile, for its relations with Europe and for the world. Having spent four years exiled in Germany during the Pinochet regime, President Bachelet retains a strong connection to our continent, and will always be a welcome visitor. I warmly congratulate her on her election and wish her great success with the programme of progressive reforms which she will now carry out."

After her first Presidential term, Bachelet was appointed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as Executive Director of the newly created organisation UN Women. In her first Presidential Cabinet she took the unprecedented step in Chile of appointing an equal number of women and men. Speaking about the President’s commitment to female empowerment, Marije Laffeber stated: "President Bachelet is a shining example to women around the world and it is perfect timing that her inauguration falls just after International Women's Day."

This is an especially historic day for Chile, as not only do we have a woman President but for the first time we have a woman leading the Senate, Isabel Allende. Senator Allende is the daughter of the courageous socialist President who was overthrown by Pinochet, further demonstrating the clean break with the years of dictatorship. The PES welcomes these two strong women whose election epitomises the triumph of democracy and justice.

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