(Adds comments, detail from speech, context)
SANTIAGO, Sept 29 Chilean President Michelle
Bachelet said the country's budgeted spending will rise 2.7
percent in 2017 compared with this year, one of the lowest rates
of growth since the 1990s, as a sluggish economy has crimped
Bachelet, speaking in a televised broadcast on Thursday
evening, said the bulk of the spending increase next year would
go on education, health, and policing. In 2016, spending is
expected to rise 4.2 percent.
With 2017 an election year, the austere increase is
unlikely to please lawmakers in her left-leaning coalition.
Center-left Bachelet began her term in 2014, pledging to
address inequality with wide-ranging reforms to tax, education,
pensions and more.
But her plans have been partly thwarted by a slide in the
price of copper, subdued investment, poor legislative planning
and opposition to elements of her reforms from both the right
Despite being one of Latin America's wealthiest and most
stable nations, polls show deep dissatisfaction with the
government, mainstream politicians and the direction in which
the country is going.
"Not everything can go at the same speed ... this budget is
the best demonstration that we maintain our desire to make
progress. So Chile should recover its optimism despite the
difficulties," said Bachelet.
Codelco, the world's biggest copper miner, could
"rest assured" that its capitalization would continue, she
added. The state-run producer returns all its profits to the
state, but has had a torrid couple of years following the fall
in the copper price.
(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Sandra Maler, Bernard