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Poll: Disapproval of Chile's Bachelet Hits Record High

  • Reuters

FILE - Chile's President Michelle Bachelet talks at the 2015 Alianza del Pacifico (Pacific Alliance) political summit, in Paracas, Peru, July 2, 2015.

FILE - Chile's President Michelle Bachelet talks at the 2015 Alianza del Pacifico (Pacific Alliance) political summit, in Paracas, Peru, July 2, 2015.

Disapproval of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet reached an historic high of 70 percent in July, as her government scaled back its reform program and struggled with a sluggish economy, an opinion poll showed Monday.

Bachelet's disapproval rating jumped from 68 percent in June, according to a survey by pollster GfK Adimark. It was the worst figure for any president since Adimark began doing such surveys in 2006.

The president's approval rating fell to 26 percent in July from 27 percent in June.

"In July, the distance between the government and its citizens that we have seen in the past 12 months deepened, and this has been intensifying since the beginning of this year," the pollster said in its report.

Left-leaning Bachelet led Chile, the world's top copper exporter, from 2006 to 2010 and took office for her second term in March 2014. Though she began her mandate with an approval rating of 54 percent, Chileans have soured on the president as slow economic growth and scandals involving money in politics have marred her message of addressing deep inequality.

July marked the first time since Bachelet returned to power that more Chileans said they identified with 'opposition to the government' (34 percent) rather than the government (32 percent). However, opposition is scattered and the main political opposition bloc, the right-wing Alianza, has even lower approval ratings than the government.

Adimark noted that the government scaled back part of its reform program in July, with Bachelet saying an economic slowdown meant it would need to prioritize some policy decisions over others.

July was also marked by a countrywide teachers' strike, as well as increased fears of crime.

A victory for hosts Chile in the soccer Copa America, meanwhile, although widely celebrated in the country, appears to have not to have given even short-term respite to its political leaders.

Depressed commodities prices are tamping down economic growth and affecting leaders' popularities throughout Latin America. In Brazil, a June poll showed that just 10 percent of residents approved of President Dilma Rousseff.

The Adimark survey polled 1,015 people from July 8 to July 30, with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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