SANTIAGO, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Michelle Bachelet was officially sworn in as president of Chile on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by leaders around the region in the central port city of Valparaiso, the seat of Chile's Congress.
Bachelet, from the center-left New Majority coalition and ex- president, won over conservative rival Evelyn Rose Matthei in a presidential runoff on Dec. 15, 2013, garnering 62 percent of votes.
Born in Santiago on Sept. 29, 1951, Bachelet studied military science at Chile's National Academy of Strategy and Policy, and the Inter-American Defense College in the United States.
In 1975, Bachelet and her mother, an archeologist, were held for about two weeks at Villa Grimaldi, a notorious torture center after her father Alberto Bachelet, an air force brigadier general, died in prison in March 1974 as a victim of torture for opposing the regime of former military ruler Augusto Pinochet.
Bachelet, along with her mother, later went to Austria and Germany. She became a member of the Socialist Party after returning home in 1979.
She served as health minister from March 2000 to January 2002 and defense minister from January 2002 to October 2004, becoming the first woman to hold the post in the history of Chile and Latin America.
In January 2005, she was named the Socialist Party's presidential candidate.
At a run-off in January 2006, Bachelet won the presidency with 53.5 percent of votes and served until March 2010. She also served as president pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations from 2008 to 2009, and executive director of United Nations Women from 2010 to 2013.
During last year's campaign, she proposed three major reforms: to make free education a right, to make changes to tax laws in a bid to raise 8.5 billion U.S. dollars to finance the educational sector, and to adopt a new constitution.