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Yearbook 2016

Chile. President Michelle Bachelet had a difficult year with falling world market prices on Chile's most important export product copper, declining government revenue and declining popularity. The crisis in the copper sector led, among other things, to the promised extra salary payments being lower than promised, which in September triggered a strike at the privately owned Los Bronces mine. Another strike at the state-owned El Salvador mine stopped production for four days. The falling copper prices directly affected the Chilean economy. In September, the central bank published an analysis that pointed to growth of only 0.5% for the year.

2016 Chile

According to countryaah, the problems in the economy led to strong dissatisfaction with President Bachelet. In August, an opinion poll showed that only 15% supported her, the lowest figure for any president since democracy was reintroduced in 1990. Particularly dissatisfaction was with regard to education and labor market issues. Votes were raised from within the Government Coalition New majority to change not only the composition of the government but the entire political direction. At the same time, the poll showed that mistrust not only affected Bachelet and the incumbent government, but the entire political establishment, and that no one could take any light political points in the polls ahead of the next presidential election in 2017. Former President Sebastián Piñera, who certainly looked to have the best chance of winning that election, for example, was also the focus of a crisis of confidence. A Chilean newspaper revealed that in 2010-11, he bought shares in a Peruvian fishing company for private account after the waters in which the company operated, and to which Chile and Peru disputed the rights, were awarded to Peru by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Peculiar circumstances surrounding the share purchase made Piñera's actions highly questioned.

Predictably, the municipal elections at the end of October became a major setback for Bachelet and the government coalition parties. The three parties to the Chile Opposition Alliance won 144 of the country's 345 mayoral positions; most took the UDI (Independent Democratic Union). Among the most important cities were the opposition parties in the capital Santiago as well as Providencia and Maipú, while an autonomous candidate, the former student leader Jorge Sharp, won in Chile's second city Valparaiso.

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