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Chile's Bachelet: Goodbye, Good Riddance to 2015

  • Reuters

FILE - Chile's President Michelle Bachelet attends the Mercosur Summit in Luque, Paraguay, Dec. 21, 2015.

FILE - Chile's President Michelle Bachelet attends the Mercosur Summit in Luque, Paraguay, Dec. 21, 2015.

It has been a bad year, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet told a local newspaper on Tuesday, admitting that corruption scandals have sapped confidence in the country's institutions while sparking a reform drive that should bear fruit going forward.

The copper-producing South American country has been hit by a series of money-politics scandals. Half-way through her second term, Bachelet has seen her popularity fall to all-time lows before recovering to about 30 percent currently.

"Clearly, up to now, it's been the worst," Bachelet told newspaper Publimetro. "In other words, I can't wait for the year to end on Dec. 31."

Bachelet's term is from 2014 to 2018. She first served as president from 2006 to 2010, during which the former doctor and high-ranking U.N. official enjoyed far higher popularity.

Chile's business and political establishment has been rocked by a tax and campaign financing scandal. The year started with accusations that Bachelet's son used his political connections to help his wife gain preferential access to a $10 million loan.

"Things have happened this year that have caused a serious reduction in confidence," Bachelet told the newspaper. "Things have come to light that don't make any Chilean proud."

In November a founding member of Chile's largest party was found guilty of fraud, the first conviction of a politician in an ongoing campaign financing investigation.

She said she believes 2016 will be better thanks to anti-corruption measures that are being put in place.

"I expect everything to improve. I'm not talking about my numbers in the opinion polls, but that the measures we are taking will bear fruit," she said.

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