January 7, 2016 / 5:08 PM / 3 years ago

Chilean President Bachelet's approval rating at all-time low in December

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s approval rating slid in December to its all-time low amid a disruptive airport strike, the fallout of ongoing corruption scandals and setbacks to her reform program, an opinion poll showed on Thursday.

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet waves as she arrives for the taking office ceremony of Argentina's President Mauricio Macri at Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Bachelet’s rating dropped an astounding 20 percentage points last year to end at 24 percent in December among those surveyed by pollster GfK Adimark. That is down from 26 percent in November.

The December approval rating tied last August’s for the lowest Bachelet has seen in either her first 2006-2010 presidency or her current term, which began in March 2014.

In her second term, Bachelet has been dogged by a sluggish economy as well as an ongoing series of money-in-politics scandals that have left Chileans angry at the government.

In recent months, the president had gained some ground. Her approval rating rose to 29 percent in October as planned reforms to the constitution and educational system began to gather pace.

But since then, her popularity has declined.

December was marked by a court setback for the government’s plans to make university free for thousands of students, a disruptive airline strike that paralyzed holiday travel and new developments in a corruption case involving Bachelet’s daughter-in-law.

“In this troubling context, it is no surprise the president’s approval rating fell two percentage points,” said Adimark.

Chile’s right-wing opposition, the Alianza coalition, appeared to capitalize on the socialist president’s woes but remains unpopular. Its approval rating climbed to 18 percent in December from 12 percent in November.

The survey polled 909 households by telephone from December 2 to 31. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Lisa Von Ahn

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