Pinochet's daughter seeks office in Chile politics

SANTIAGO, July 28 (Reuters) - The eldest daughter of late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet signed up on Monday to run in municipal elections in an upscale neighborhood of the capital later this year, an election service official said.

Lucia Pinochet Hiriart will run as an independent in the elections for local councils. While city councils in Chile have limited power, the polls in October will be a barometer of the political climate ahead of a presidential election in 2009.

"She signed up this morning," the election official said. "She is running for the post of councilor of Vitacura."

Vitacura is one of the most luxurious neighbourhoods of Santiago, home to designer boutiques and many of Chile's right-wing elite.

Hiriart, her siblings and mother were detained in 2007 and held in jail for two nights amid a probe into allegations they helped Pinochet store millions of dollars of public funds embezzled during his 1973-1990 regime.

All but the eldest son were later cleared of embezzlement charges.

Pinochet, who died in 2006, never faced a full trial for crimes committed during his 17-year dictatorship, when about 3,000 people were killed or disappeared and another 28,000 were tortured -- most of them suspected leftists. (Reporting by Monica Vargas and John O'Callaghan)