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Chile to celebrate 200th anniversary with four days holiday

Saturday, June 5th 2010 - 06:19 UTC
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Friday and Monday after September 18 to feast Friday and Monday after September 18 to feast

Chile has decided to celebrate its 200th birthday over four days as opposed to the two given to its usual birthdays. The legislature has approved a proposal to convert both the Friday before and the Monday after Saturday September 18 into official public holidays.

The original plan was to celebrate the country’s bicentennial over three days, from Saturday through Monday. However, the Concertación y Alianza (Chile’s two political coalitions) requested changing the Monday public holiday to Friday.

This gave Socialists Marcelo Diaz and Alfonso de Urresti and Communist Hugo Guitierrez an idea – why not make both days public holidays? Many politicians reasoned that the bicentennial was an extra special occasion and deserved to be celebrated as such. They pointed to the fact that a lot of Chile’s public holidays this year fall on Sundays and consequently there will be less days off work in 2010.

The proposal was passed 55 votes to 48 amid discussion as to whether the extra day will be vetoed by President Piñera. Piñera’s liaison to Congress, Cristian Larroulet, said that while this year’s fiestas patrias (the celebration of Chile’s independence from Spain) was an especially important one, there still remains the pressing issue of reconstruction in the zones affected by the earthquake.

Although the possibility of veto remains, many feel it would not be a wise move on Piñera’s part. “If the president follows the advice of Larroulet, his popularity will fall dramatically,” Ricardo Rincon of the Christian Democratic Party told La Tercera.

By Alia Alhafny – Santiago Times

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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