Forty-eight hours after the massive “no” victory in the referendum on the new Constitution, rejected on Sunday September 4 by 62% of voters, President Gabriel Boric (left) carried out a reshuffle on Tuesday – the first since his arrival in power in March. These new arrivals attest to a reorientation of the executive towards the traditional center left, with the integration of personalities with a long political career, from the governments of former socialist president Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010 and 2014-2018), still popular in the country.
“Politically, this is perhaps, and I have no reason to hide it, one of the most difficult times I have to face”said Gabriel Boric in the wake of the announcement of the reshuffle, calling on the “exceeds[ement] differences “to one “greater cohesion” and to “regain confidence” Chileans.
Notable change: the arrival at the Ministry of the Interior of Carolina Toha, 57, ex-mayor of Santiago and former spokesperson for the Bachelet government, whose political skills are unanimous. In this key position, she will notably have to manage the conflict over the restitution of the lands of the indigenous Mapuche population, in the south of the country. False step, resurgence of violence, it is above all this file which got the better of her predecessor, Izkia Siches, yet crowned with great popularity when she arrived in government six months ago. Its challenge will also consist in providing answers in terms of insecurity, one of the great concerns of Chileans.
Ana Lya Uriarte, 60, another figure of the Bachelet years – she was minister then chief of staff under his mandates – was appointed to the strategic post of secretary general of the government, responsible for relations between the executive and Congress. Its main task will be to oil the negotiations with the centrist formations, with a view to alliances in Congress, where the government does not have a majority. Mme Uriarte succeeds Giorgio Jackson, a historical friend of the president, who joins a ministry less close to the heart of power, social development. His change of position, as well as the departure of Izkia Siches, therefore marks the estrangement of close friends in their thirties of the Head of State, who come, like him, from the 2011 student revolt.
A page has thus been turned for the Boric government, whose ideological program was intimately linked to the draft Constitution rejected on Sunday. “The government’s program, its depth, also largely depends on what will happen on September 4”, said government spokeswoman Camila Vallejo in June, presaging difficulties in applying the reforms in the event of rejection. After being suspended from the referendum result for six months, “The government finally knows what its framework is. We can say that the government of Boric begins now”believes Jaime Baeza, political scientist at the Faculty of Government of the University of Chile.
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