SANTIAGO – President Michelle Bachelet defended on Thursday her legacy in an appearance before Chilean business leaders that came a month before voters head to the polls to elect her successor.
Bachelet told the 39th National Business Meeting (ENADE), Chile’s main business forum, that she inherited “an economy that had been decelerating since the second half of 2013” and will hand her successor one that “is in full recovery, with orderly fiscal accounts and its capacity for achieving higher levels of growth intact.”
Bachelet’s comments were aimed at conservative former President Sebastian Piñera, who governed Chile from 2010-2014 and is the favorite to win the Nov. 19 presidential election.
The 67-year-old Piñera, a billionaire businessman, accused Bachelet recently of governing Chile “for the elite of the United Nations and not for Chileans.”
Bachelet told the approximately 500 business leaders attending ENADE that ignoring the international situation was to “think that we can resolve our problems without recognizing the current determining forces, without coordinating with others and without valuing the accumulated experiences and knowledge in other countries.”
The 66-year-old Bachelet, who also served as president from 2006-2010, touted her administration’s educational reforms, policies to fight corruption, support for entrepreneurship and innovation, and sustainability policy.
ENADE’s opening session offers panels focusing on jump-starting the economy, overhauling the government and achieving sustainable growth.
Five of the eight presidential candidates, including Piñera, are scheduled to address the forum, laying out their vision and plans for Chile before business leaders.