Conservative Billionaire Becomes President of Chile

Conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera takes office as Chile's new president on Thursday, tasked with rebuilding the country after one of the worst earthquakes ever recorded killed hundreds of people less than two weeks ago.

Chileans hope the Harvard-trained economist can use his renowned business skills to help one of Latin America's most stable economies rebound from the quake, which was followed by a tsunami that devastated coastal villages, Reuters informs.

According, Sebastian Pinera is to be inaugurated as Chile's new president against a backdrop of reconstruction efforts following one of history's worst earthquakes.

The Harvard-tained economist will be signed into power at 12pm (15:00 GMT) on Thursday in Valparaiso, 120km from the captial Santiago, converting the government's orientation from left to right.

Pinera, 60, is one of Chile's richest men according to Forbes magazine, having made money via a credit cards business and an airline.

Alvaro Uribe, Alan Garcia and Evo Morales, the presidents of Colombia, Peru and Bolivia respectively, were among those who arrived in Chile on Wednesday for the ceremony, which is expected to be sombre due to the recent disaster.

"We would like to deepen our trust because when there is trust, we can solve social problems, and problems such as this earthquake," Morales, who presents a leftist ideology, said.

"Pinera promises prosperity, a government that works, development," says Opazo, a week before the billionaire entrepreneur turned politician was to take office, as reported in Bloomberg Markets magazine. Opazo wears mud- splattered jeans and his eyes are bloodshot from fatigue. "I hope Pinera can help me get my life back."

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