Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (Spanish pronunciation: ; born September 29, 1951) is a moderate socialist politician who was President of Chile from 11 March 2006 to 11 March 2010—the first woman president in the country's history. She won the 2006 presidential election in a runoff, beating center-right businessman and former senator Sebastián Piñera (who eventually succeeded Bachelet as President) with 53.5% of the vote. She campaigned on a platform of continuing Chile's free-market policies, while increasing social benefits to help reduce the gap between rich and poor.
Bachelet, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with studies in military strategy, served as Health Minister and Defense Minister under President Ricardo Lagos. She is a separated mother of three and describes herself as an agnostic. As well as her native Spanish, she speaks English, German, Portuguese and French.
Bachelet is the second child of archaeologist Ángela Jeria Gómez and Air Force Brigadier General Alberto Bachelet Martínez. Her paternal great-great-grandfather, Louis-Joseph Bachelet Lapierre, was a French wine merchant from Chassagne-Montrachet who emigrated to Chile with his Parisian wife, Françoise Jeanne Beault, in 1860 hired as a wine-making expert by the Subercaseaux vineyards in southern Santiago. Bachelet Lapierre's son, Germán—Michelle Bachelet's great-grandfather—was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1862, and married in 1891 to Luisa Brandt Cadot, a Chilean of French-Swiss origin, giving birth in 1894 to Michelle Bachelet's grandfather Alberto Bachelet Brandt. Her maternal great-grandfather, Máximo Jeria Chacón, of alleged Greek heritage, was the first person to receive a degree in agronomic engineering in Chile and founded several agronomy schools in the country. He married Lely Johnson, the daughter of an English physician working in Chile. Their son, Máximo Jeria Johnson, married Angela Gómez Zamora. Their union produced five children, the fourth of whom became Michelle Bachelet's mother.