Support for Chile's Pinera lowest for president since Pinochet era - poll
By Dave Sherwood SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Support for Chile's Sebastian Pinera has plunged to just 14% amid recent unrest, according to a poll published on Sunday, the lowest approval rating for a Chilean president since the country's return to democracy three decades ago. The survey, published in local daily La Tercera, was conducted by Chilean pollster Cadem between Wednesday and Thursday
By Dave Sherwood
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Support for Chile's Sebastian Pinera has plunged to just 14% amid recent unrest, according to a poll published on Sunday, the lowest approval rating for a Chilean president since the country's return to democracy three decades ago.
The survey, published in local daily La Tercera, was conducted by Chilean pollster Cadem between Wednesday and Thursday. It came just before a rally that saw 1 million Chileans, or just under one-fifth the city's population, take to the streets Friday to call for reforms to the country's social and economic model.
Daily La Tercera called Pinera's 14% approval rating a "historical minimum," and the lowest since the 1973-1990 military rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet. More than three-quarters of Chileans disapproved of the centre-right Pinera's administration, the poll found.
Chile, the world's top copper producer, has long been one of the region's most prosperous and stable free-market economies. But entrenched inequality and spiralling costs of living ignited massive, and sometimes violent, protests last week.
Similar scenes have played out in cities across the world in recent months, from Hong Kong to Beirut to Barcelona, sharing in common anger at ruling elites.
In Chile, a hike in subway fares more than a week ago proved the breaking point. Small protests quickly boiled over into riots that have killed at least 17 people, resulted in more than 7,000 arrests and caused upwards of $1.4 billion in losses to Chilean businesses.
Pinera, a billionaire businessman, last week called for a new "social pact," to stem the unrest. He promised higher taxes on the rich to help boost the minimum wage and pensions, lower the prices of medicines and assure proper health insurance.
The Cadem poll found that 80% of Chileans did not think his reforms were adequate.
Roberto Izikson, a pollster and political scientist with Cadem, told Reuters Pinera's ratings were already trending downwards before the protests began.
"We will see how the government plays the last few cards it holds to confront this new scenario," Izikson said.
The centre-right Pinera trounced the leftist opposition during 2017 elections. But mass rallies forcing Pinera to change his tone and upend his policy goals.
On Saturday, Pinera promised a major cabinet shake-up, though he has yet to announce details.
(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Additional reporting by Natalia Ramos; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.