In Santiago, Second Coming Of A Socialist?

Ricardo Lagos, an ex-radical, may be the next President

Ricardo Lagos, Chile's Socialist presidential front-runner, knows his candidacy worries some Chileans. The last time Chile took a left turn--when it elected Salvador Allende Gossens in 1970--it led to a coup and 17 years of dictatorial rule under General Augusto Pinochet. Now, with Lagos favored to win in the Dec. 12 elections, some Chilean and foreign investors wonder how he'll manage Latin America's free-market model. But the 61-year-old Lagos, who has served in the Cabinet since Chile's return to democracy in 1990, brushes aside the doubters. "The way of producing change today is very different from what it was 30 years ago," he says calmly in his Santiago campaign headquarters.

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