(b. 29 Sept 1951).
President of Chile 2006– The daughter of a socialist critic of Pinochet, she grew up in exile in the German Democratic Republic, returning to Chile in 1979. She completed her medical degree, and joined the socialist party. She joined the Ministry of Health and in 2000 was appointed Minister for Health in the Lagos government. She then became Defence Minister, where she had to deal carefully with a military stung by its recent loss of power. She won the 2005 elections, and became Latin America's first woman president. During her first year of office she had to cope with a series of difficulties, including the resignation of several government ministers following public protests at government inefficiency.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).