Saturday, March 11, 2006

Chile To Swear In First Female President.

Chile is preparing to swear in a former student activist, once tortured and exiled by the country's armed forces, as its first woman president.

Michelle Bachelet, who was previously a health and defence minister, has described Chile's acceptance of a female president as "a historic, unprecedented fact" and pledged to increase the participation of women in government and politics.

Among those, attending Bachelet's inauguration will be Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state.

Helen Clark, the prime minister of New Zealand, and Fatemeh Javadi, Iran's vice-president, will also be attending the ceremony in the port city of Valparaiso.

Ahead of her formally taking office, Bachelet has already appointed a cabinet with an equal number of men and women, and has vowed to do the same in 300 decision-making positions in the government.

She has also promised to promote legislation that would force political parties to include a certain percentage of female candidates.

Bachelet, a separated mother of three, is the first elected female Latin American leader who did not rise to power with the help of a powerful husband

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