LatinNews Daily - 14 March 2022

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CHILE: Boric inaugurates era of change

On 11 March Gabriel Boric was inaugurated as Chile’s 34th head of state, the youngest president in the country’s history.


Boric is the most radical leftist to hold the presidency since Salvador Allende committed suicide during the military coup of 1973; he has not shied away from Allende’s legacy, quoting him during his inaugural address and paying homage to his statue in the La Moneda presidential palace. But Boric is more pragmatic than partisan. He promised not to practise polarising politics, but to admit to his mistakes and “always listen to those who think differently”, and was very clear that respect for human rights was of paramount importance for him “whatever the creed of the government violating them” in a clear allusion to the authoritarian leftist governments in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

  • Addressing a crowd from the palace balcony, Boric said he would not be standing there if it were not for the people who had taken to the streets to demand more social justice, and better education and healthcare in 2019, adding that he would seek to “repair the wounds left by that social uprising”.
  • There is a strong youthful presence in Boric’s cabinet, with seven of his ministers under 40, and it is also symbolic of the gender equality, diversity, and plurality he maintains will be the hallmarks of his government.
  • During his first full day in office on 12 March, Boric held a ceremony in La Moneda with representatives of all of the country’s different indigenous communities, with whom he promised “a new relation”. The interior minister, Izkia Siches, said the ceremony was an important sign of the government’s intentions.

Looking Ahead: Boric will have his work cut out forging a majority in congress. His Apruebo Dignidad coalition has only 37 seats in the 155-seat lower chamber of congress and just five in the 43-seat senate. He has formed an alliance with traditional leftist parties to bolster this bloc by a further 28 deputies and 13 senators, but his government will still be reliant on consensus-building with other parties to advance his reform agenda.

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