Loan Scandal Clouds Chile President Michelle Bachelet’s Reforms

Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s president, swept back to power in 2013 on the back of pledges to fight inequality and put an end to the deeply entrenched privileges enjoyed by the country’s traditional elite, the Financial Times reported. So her government’s credibility took a serious blow when the single mother’s eldest son, Sebastián Dávalos, was earlier this month accused of using his influence to secure a bank loan. The ensuing uproar was such that he was forced to resign last week as head of a charitable foundation normally run by Chile’s first lady. Lamenting this “bitter moment”, Mr Dávalos admitted the scandal could “damage” not just the government, but also the president herself, whose popularity has already sunk to record lows amid an economic slowdown driven by lower prices of copper, Chile’s main export. At stake is Ms Bachelet’s ambitious reform agenda aimed at tackling inequality, which has remained high despite exceptional economic growth in recent decades. Read more. (Subscription required.)
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