Michelle Bachelet sworn in as Chile’s president

VALPARAISO, Chile, March 12 (PNA/Xinhua) — Michelle Bachelet was officially sworn in as president of Chile on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by leaders around the region in the central port city of Valparaiso, the seat of Chile’s Congress.

Bachelet, 62, received the presidential sash on the shoulder from speaker of the Senate Isabel Allende, the first time it was passed from one woman to another in the history of the South American nation. Outgoing President Sebastian Pinera then tied a tassel to the sash and wished his successor good luck.

Bachelet, a moderate socialist heading the center-left New Majority coalition, takes the helm of the country again after a spell with the United Nations. Her campaign pledge of major reforms in education, healthcare and tax has held strong appeal among voters.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by presidents from around the region, including Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, Uruguay’s President Joss Mujica, Colombian President Jose Manuel Santos, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, among others.

Bachelet, who served as Chilean president from 2006 to 2010, won the presidential campaign in a run-off in December with 62 percent of votes. During last year’s campaign, she proposed three major reforms: to make free education a right, to overhaul tax laws to finance the educational sector, and to adopt a new constitution. (PNA/Xinhua)