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Chile's Chamber of Deputies has approved the amended Bicentennial Public Holidays Bill recently approved by the Senate, thus making the official declaration of September 17 and 20, 2010, as public holidays, a virtual certainty.
The origin of the aforementioned bill dates from a year ago (2009-05-29), when a group of Chilean parliamentarians from the UDI, PPD, as well as some independents, introduced legislation (Boletín 6483-17) that would make Friday, September 17, and Monday, September 20, 2010, one-off public holidays, to compensate the fact that, in 2010, Chile is celebrating its bicentennial, and that this year's 2-day annual fiestas patrias (September 18-19) fall on a Saturday and a Sunday. After lengthy parliamentary travails, the bill was finally approved by the Chilean Senate last month (2010-06-30).
However, at that time, and ever since his election in December 2009, the Chilean President had indicated he might veto any legislation declaring 2 public holidays (2010-05-04). But, in a statement following the aforementioned vote by the Chamber of Deputies, the Chilean ministro secretario general de la Presidencia, Cristián Larroulet, indicated that the President had now dropped the idea of vetoing the legislation.
One of the reasons for this change of heart at the Moneda Presidential Palace, is that the final bill stipulates that the only day when retail stores will close is Saturday, September 18.
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