(Verónica Michele Bachelet Jeria), 1951-, Chilean political leader and government official. Her father, Alberto Bachelet, was an air force general and official in President Salvador Allende
's government; after Allende was overthrown (1973), he was arrested by the Pinochet
regime, tortured, and died in prison (1974). In 1975, Bachelet and her mother were also arrested and tortured, then exiled. Returning in 1979, Bachelet graduated (1982) from medical school, then worked as a pediatrician and later as an epidemiologist. She did postgraduate work in strategic and defense studies in 1996-97. A Socialist, Bachelet served as minister of health (2000-2002) and defense (2002-4) under President Ricardo Lagos
, becoming a popular national figure. In 2004 she resigned to run for the Chilean presidency, and won the nomination of the center-left coalition. Promising political continuity with her post-Pinochet predecessors, she was elected president in 2006, becoming the first woman in Chile to win the office.
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