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Sebastian Pinera

Patricio Aylwin dies at 97; Chilean president consolidated fragile democracy after Pinochet's rule

Patricio Aylwin dies at 97; Chilean president consolidated fragile democracy after Pinochet's rule

Patricio Aylwin, Chile's first elected president after the bloody 17-year Pinochet dictatorship, took office in 1990 at an extremely delicate moment in his country's history.

Gen. Augusto Pinochet had left La Moneda presidential palace after losing a 1988 plebiscite to retain power, but kept command of the armed forces. That raised fears he might try another coup to regain power, similar to the one in 1973 that overthrew leftist President Salvador Allende.

That Aylwin, who died Tuesday at his Santiago home at the age of 97, was able to keep opposition parties united during his 1990-1994 term in office while controlling the restive military, is widely considered by Chilean...

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