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Since 1989, Chile has had four elected civilian presidents: Patricio Aylwin Azócar (1990-94), Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (1994-2000), Ricardo Lagos Escobar (2000-2006) and Michelle Bachelet Jeria (2006- ); Aylwin and Frei are Christian Democrats, while Lagos and Bachelet are Socialists. Although Michelle Bachelet made history when she became Chile's first-ever female president, her term in office was marred early on by nationwide demonstrations by high school students protesting poor school conditions, and subsequently by street protests over the botched implementation of the Transantiago transportation program in Chile's capital. President Bachelet is constitutionally barred from running for re-election in 2009, and opinion polls have her 2006 runoff rival, Sebastián Piñera of National Renewal as the early favorite. However, one thing is clear, irrespective of the election outcome: Chile has resumed its tradition of democratic governance, and it is very unlikely the country will deviate from that path for the foreseeable future.
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