New Chilean President Sworn In With an Aftershock
Posted on Mar 11, 2010
Chile’s new president, conservative billionaire Sebastian Piñera, came in with a bang and a tsunami warning on Thursday. Just minutes before his swearing-in ceremony, a 6.9-magnitude aftershock rattled Chileans, still shaken from last month’s giant quake, and cut Piñera’s inaugural festivities short. —KA
The 6.9-magnitude tremor was centred in O’Higgins Region, some 140km (90 miles) south of the city of Valparaiso, where the inauguration ceremony took place.
The National Congress building was evacuated shortly afterwards and a tsunami alert was issued.
Mr Pinera’s presidency ends two decades of left-wing rule in Chile.
The tycoon not only faces the challenge of reconstruction, but takes over from the highly-popular Michelle Bachelet, who was the country’s first woman president.
Ms Bachelet left office with an 84% popularity rating despite criticism of her government’s response to the 8.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami, which left close to 500 people dead.
In this image from the BBC’s video coverage of the inauguration in Chile, businessman Sebastian Piñera, far right, is given the presidential sash during Thursday’s ceremony.