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Leaders from the MIR said they intend to distinguish themselves from the two political coalitions that dominate Chilean politics.
A faction within Chile's Movement of the Revolutionary Left, which resisted the brutal Pinochet dictatorship, announced that it has begun the process to become a formal political party. 

The decision of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left, known as the MIR, to become a party represents a significant shift for an organization that holds very strong criticisms of other leftist organizations that participate in Chilean party politics. 

“We taken the decision to start our process of legalization, convinced that this instrument can be a contribution to the democratization process that is so necessary for Chilean society,” read a statement by the MIR's central committee in January. 

Secretary-General Demetrio Hernandez said that a group of representatives met with the Electoral Service of Chile to begin the legalization process.

"We want to turn to those honest men and women who really want change, who really want democracy in Chile. And we are going to ask them for their support, and we're going to ask that, in turn, they persuade others," said Hernandez.

The group has until August to collect a minimum of 8,000 signatures to qualify for legal status.

Hernandez said the new party would seek to set itself apart from the two political coalitions that currently dominate Chilean politics. He added that the MIR would pursue forming a new coalition with other leftist parties. 

The MIR was a significant political force in Chile before and after the 1973 coup that ousted the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende.

Led by the charismatic Miguel Enriquez, the MIR supported the Allende government. After the 1973 coup, many of the MIR's membership refused to go into exile and engaged in armed struggle to topple the dictatorship.

Enriquez himself was killed in a gun battle with Pinochet's secret police Oct. 5, 1974.

Several former guerrilla fighters throughout Latin America have gone on to become heads of state in their respective countries, including Salvador Sanchez Ceren in El Salvador, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, and Jose Mujica in Uruguay.

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