Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chile: Center-Left Coalition of President-Elect and President Michelle Bachelet Selects Cabinet

According to The Latin American Tribune, the Cabinet announced Friday (February 14) by Chilean President-elect Michelle Bachelet includes a record numbers of both women and political independents.

“It is a team chosen on the basis of conditions of leadership, skill, commitment to the program,” she said during the presentation of the 23 ministers who will take office with her on March 11.

Bachelet, who governed Chile from 2006-2010, is returning to the presidency as the leader of a broad center-left coalition that ranges from Christian Democrats to Communists.

Her new administration will focus on overhauling the educational system and tax code and drafting a new constitution to replace a charter that was imposed in 1980 by dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The Cabinet includes six members of the Party for Democracy, five Christian Democrats, three from Bachelet’s Socialist Party, two representatives of the Radical Party, one Communist and six independents.

COMMENT: Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jería, 62, is a Chilean politician from the Socialist Party. She previously served as President of Chile from 2006–2010, becoming the first woman in her country to do so.

Nine of the new ministers chosen by the president-elect are women.

The last Chilean government with Communist participation fell in the Pinochet-led coup of September 11, 1973.

Bachelet tapped one of her closest confidants, Rodrigo Peñailillo, to head the powerful Interior Ministry, and appointed Heraldo Muñoz, until now the regional director of the UN Development Program, as foreign minister.

Alberto Arenas, the top policy official in Bachelet’s presidential campaign, will become the country’s finance minister.

The education portfolio went to economist Nicolás Eyzaguirre, who served as finance minister in the 2000-2006 administration of President Ricardo Lagos.