Chilean President-elect Boric unveils majority female cabinet | Political news

Fourteen of Chile’s 24 new ministers are women, while several are former student protest leaders.

Gabriel Boric, Chile’s left-wing president-elect, announced his first cabinet, giving the majority of positions to women and several to former student protest leaders.

Fourteen of the 24 new ministers announced Friday are women, including Defense Minister Maya Fernandez, granddaughter of socialist President Salvador Allende, overthrown by a military coup in 1973.

The Interior Ministry which oversees homeland security will be handed over to Dr. Izkia Siches, who was recently the head of the national medical association.

“We have formed this team with people who are prepared, knowledgeable, experienced and committed to the program of change that the country needs,” Boric said.

The cabinet announcement comes after Boric, who will be 36 before taking office on March 11, won the presidential election last month.

He ran on a platform to modernize Chile’s public health sector, which serves 80% of the population, replacing the now private pension system while increasing benefits and raising the minimum wage.

Social disparities in the South American nation had sparked widespread protests in 2019, lighting the fuse for the political rise of the progressive left and the overhaul of the country’s dictatorship-era constitution.

“The mission of this Cabinet is to lay the foundations for the major reforms we have proposed in our programme,” Boric said after unveiling his ministers, adding that he would seek to boost economic growth while reducing “structural inequalities”. .

“We are talking about sustainable growth accompanied by a fair redistribution of wealth,” he said.

Communist Party lawmaker Camila Vallejo, who like Boric has come to prominence as a student leader, will serve as the government spokesperson.

The Ministry of Finance returns to Mario Marcel, whose term as President of the Central Bank has been widely praised by financial analysts. He had previously worked at the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and in previous centre-left Chilean governments.

Boric’s promises during the election campaign to enact major reforms to Chile’s market-driven economic model rattled investors, though he has moderated his tone since, boosting Chile’s markets and currency.

Boric’s cabinet includes at least six ministers under 40, including those who led a wave of rallies in 2011 for improved and free education. That includes Congressman Giorgio Jackson of Boric’s own Broad Front coalition, who was named secretary general to the presidency.

But his coalition only has 37 of the 155 seats in Congress, so to pass legislation he will have to work with other centre-left parties he has criticized in the past for being too accommodating to conservatives.

His term will coincide with a public referendum on a new constitution being drafted by a constituent assembly, which could change the shape of the political system as a whole.

The current constitution was adopted under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who led the coup against Allende.

Gabriel Boric’s cabinet includes at least six ministers under 40 [Ailen Diaz/Reuters]


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