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Conservative Pinera begins second term as Chile’s president

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chile's newly sworn in President Sebastian Pinera stands after receiving the sash from President of the Senate Carlos Montes, next to former president Michelle Bachelet, at the Congress in Valparaiso, Chile March 11, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera was sworn in as Chile's president on Sunday, returning to the job after four years of center-left rule with promises to revive investments in the world's top copper producer.

Pinera, who governed Chile in 2010-2014, accepted the presidential sash from outgoing socialist president Michelle Bachelet in a ceremony in the Pacific port city of Valparaiso.

Pinera was elected in December with a strong mandate, marking a new rightward shift in South America after conservative leaders rose to power in Peru, Brazil and Argentina.

His second term begins as prices for copper exports are rising, bolstering government revenues and driving growth in Chile's $250 billion economy.

But he will face a divided Congress and a prickly leftist coalition that has vowed to fight his plans to lower taxes and "refine" Bachelet's progressive policies.

Presidents from across the region attended Pinera's swearing-in ceremony, including Brazil's Michel Temer, Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto, Bolivia's Evo Morales and Argentina's Mauricio Macri.

The 68-year old Pinera and his wife waved at supporters as they passed through streets packed with cheering Chileans waving the national flag.

Pinera is scheduled to deliver a speech later on Sunday.

(Source: Reuters)


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