Chile has elected its first female president, Michelle Bachelet, according to the BBC. Soon-to-be president Bachelet represents another South American country gone to the leftists, although in this case it is a continuation, as her party has governed Chile since 1990. Based on this, I don't think we can expect too much of a change in Chilean politics.

Contrast this with France, where the left have apparently found someone interesting to put forward. According to The Economist, Ségolène Royal is polling higher than Nicolas Sarkozy, a feat I never thought to see. Ms. Royal, who apparently went to Chile to support Ms. Bachelet, might be a chance for the left to take power. According to the Economist, however, they aren't too keen on letting that happen:

For months, as her poll ratings have climbed, Socialist heavyweights have queued up to dismiss the president of the Poitou-Charentes region as a media mirage. But the more they write her off, the more her popularity grows. In one poll for Le Figaro, she beat not only Bernard Kouchner, the ever-popular humanitarian doctor, but even Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right favourite and head of the ruling UMP party. As a presidential candidate for the left, two other new polls put her firmly as top choice.
It would be quite interesting to see France head to the left, although whether it would be good for the country is a question I can't answer.
Derek (Erb) commented:
Segolène Royal is getting a lot of air time over here in France. An interesting point to add is the fact that her biggest competition for the presidency may very well be the current head of the socialist party: François Hollande who also just happens to be her husband!
on Mon Jan 16 12:03:43 2006

David commented:
It's just so weird, this whole husband and wife thing - it would seem like they could just work it out - one imagines they are capable of doing this, or they wouldn't still be married. The Economist suggested that unless the Socialists settle on one candidate, things could go badly at the polls. It would certainly appear to me that if even the husband and wife can't reach an agreement, things could be ugly come election day.
on Mon Jan 16 15:33:06 2006

Derek (Erb) commented:
There's no chance of there being 2 socialist candidates. The socialists will elect one cadidate prior to the presidential race. It's relatively similar to the American notion of the primaries. It's just going to be funny to watch husband and wife debate prior to the socialist election... Could any imagine Hilary running against Bill? But in our case the vastly more charismatic of the two is Segolène!
on Mon Jan 16 20:54:51 2006

David commented:
Ouch! Do I detect a Hillary fan in the room? No? Didn't think so! She (Segolène) certainly is (forgive me, readers) attractive, which probably doesn't hurt her chances.
on Tue Jan 17 03:30:56 2006

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