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Irene Sáez
Beauty pageant titleholder
Birth name Irene Lailin Sáez Conde
Birthdate December 13, 1961 (1961-12-13) (age 48)
Birthplace Caracas, Venezuela
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Eye color Hazel
Hair color Blonde
Title(s) Miss Venezuela 1981
Miss Universe 1981
Mayor of Chacao
Governor of Nueva Esparta State

Irene Lailin Sáez Conde (born 13 December 1961 in Caracas, Venezuela) is a Venezuelan politician and a former Miss Universe. She has been a model, was the mayor of Chacao (a suburb of Caracas), Governor of the state of Nueva Esparta and a former presidential candidate.

Contents

Pageants

Sáez was crowned Miss Venezuela 1981 winning with 305 votes and later, crowned Miss Universe 1981 at the 30th annual pageant in New York City at the age of 19. She was also Queen of Club Campestre Los Cortijos for three years in a row. In 1997, she was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award at the Miss Universe Pageant, a recently created prize of the Miss Universe Organization. She made her acceptance speech in both English and Spanish. Sáez was received in the International Airport Simón Bolívar for the former president of Venezuela, Luis Herrera Campins and he gave her a chain of gold for her victory in Miss Universe.

Political career

Irene during her political campaign.

In the early 1990s Sáez served two terms as the mayor of Chacao, one of the five municipalities that make up Caracas, and gained notoriety by modernizing the municipal administration, raising its efficiency to an unprecedented (and still unsurpassed) level, at par with any modern private enterprise. She was the first Mayor of Chacao elected by popular vote. Previously all mayors were chosen by the Governor of Caracas.

In 1997, she formed the Integrated Representation of New Hope (IRENE) party as a launching pad for her run in the 1998 elections. For a while, she shocked the Venezuelan political establishment when she led in opinion polls in the race for president and was the most popular politician in the early days of the race. She ran on a platform to end corruption, reducing bureaucracy and refinancing the public debt.

Sáez's political campaign, however, began to falter by mid 1998 for several reasons. Her decision to ally herself with two other political parties, COPEI and Democratic Action, along with some poorly executed television interviews, as well as the growing popularity of Hugo Chávez, all combined to result in her tumble from the top of the polls.

Eventually, in the December 1998 election she finished a distant third with 2.8% of the vote. Soon after that, Sáez was elected Governor of the state of Nueva Esparta. She won overwhelmingly with more 70% of the votes, defeating the candidate of Democratic Action.

She served as governor of the state until 2000, stepping down when she became pregnant, denying rumors that she was pushed aside by Chávez. [1]

Post-political private life

Sáez married American television producer and chemical heir Darryl duPont in 1982, the couple later divorced. Sáez remarried and had a son (born in 2000) and divorced again. She later moved to the United States to live in Miami, Florida. In 2003 she was named to the board of directors of the Colonial BancGroup, south Florida region. [2]

External links

Preceded by
Shawn Weatherly
Miss Universe
1981
Succeeded by
Karen Baldwin
Preceded by
Maye Brandt
Miss Venezuela
1981
Succeeded by
Ana Teresa Oropeza







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