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Why Pinochet’s legacy still matters in Chile’s elections

David Von Blohn
Associated Press

Chile’s presidential election takes place on Sunday. The two leading candidates are both daughters of generals who were once friends in the Chilean Air Force. But the similarities end there. 

Former President Michelle Bachelet is a member of the socialist party, and her father was tortured and killed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Her opponent, Evelyn Matthei, is a conservative party member whose father supported Pinochet. Bachelet was tortured by the junta’s secret police before she fled the country for East Germany. Matthei, on the other hand, got her economics degree in Santiago, was elected to the legislature, and is now the country’s labor minister.

On Sunday, voters will choose between these two women, along with seven other candidates on the ballot. To bring us the latest developments in the presidential and legislative elections and add context, Global Journalist spoke to a Reuters correspondent in Santiago and two scholars who focus on Chile, including one who previously covered Latin America for the Washington Post.


Kenneth Bunker is PhD candidate in political science at the London School of Economics.

Alexandra Ulmer is the Chile correspondent for Reuters.

John Dinges is a professor of journalism at Columbia University, and a former Washington Post reporter based in Latin America.

Rehman Tungekar is a former producer for KBIA, who left at the beginning of 2014.