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Published: Friday July 4, 2014 MYT 3:50:02 AM
Updated: Friday July 4, 2014 MYT 3:51:31 AM

Chile's Bachelet sees rise in approval along with opposition to reforms

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Approval for Chile's center-left President Michelle Bachelet continued to rise in June, but so did opposition to some of her flagship reforms, including an education and tax overhaul, a poll showed on Thursday.

Bachelet took office in March for a second non-consecutive term vowing to tackle steep income inequality by hiking corporate taxes, reforming the country's education system and shredding the dictatorship-era constitution.

Her approval ratings increased to 58 percent in June, from 56 percent in May, said pollster Adimark in a monthly report, a monthly variation that it said was not "statistically significant."

Bachelet's approval has gradually risen from 54 percent in March.

At the same time, disapproval of how Bachelet is running her government increased one percentage point to 32 percent in June from May. That compares to a sharply lower 20 percent in March.

Widespread enthusiasm surrounding the participation of Chile's national football team in the World Cup in Brazil, "kept the country optimistic" and likely gave Bachelet a boost in June, Adimark said.

Bachelet flew to Cuiaba to see 'La Roja' (The Red) play their first game against Australia, and then received the national team at Santiago's Moneda presidential palace after they eventually were knocked out of the tournament by hosts Brazil.

Adimark noted that Bachelet's approval rating is 14 percentage points higher now than at the same point in her first term in office in June 2006.

TROUBLED REFORMS

With Bachelet's landmark education and tax reform packages being criticized by opposition lawmakers in Congress, opposition to the bills has increased.

"In June there was an important decrease in support for the tax and education reforms ... in general, the population seems evenly divided over these reforms," said Adimark.

Approval for the tax reform fell to 45 percent in June, from 51 percent in May, while disapproval rose four percentage points to 40 percent during the same period.

The drop in approval for education reform was even sharper, declining to 49 percent in June, from 58 percent the prior month. Meanwhile, disapproval for the package increased to 41 percent, from 33 percent.

The telephone survey of 1,033 people was conducted between June 5-30 and had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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