NATIONAL POLITICS

Post-referendum cabinet changes: Izkia Siches and others out

President Gabriel Boric has made his first staff changes. A tearful Izkia Siches left behind her Interior Minister post and was replaced by Carolina Tohá (PPD). Interior Subsecretary Manuel Monsalve, however, continues in place.

After promising staff changes in his Sept. 4 post-referendum speech, President Gabriel Boric started the shuffle on Sept. 6. The ceremony held in the Cannon’s Yard of La Moneda was supposed to start at 12:00 p.m., but it was delayed for more than an hour after the designation of Communist Party member Nicolás Cataldo as Interior Subsecretary was leaked to the press and it quickly generated a rejection on social media and the opposition.

Opponents did not like that the president was going to put a Communist in charge of the police force, as old tweets from Cataldo talking about the police started to emerge. The posts were quickly removed, but the damage was done, and, as the pressure reached all the way to La Moneda, Boric decided to scuttle his designation and leave Manuel Monsalve in place as the Subsecretary. 

Siches out

In what President Boric called “one of the most difficult moments I have faced politically speaking,” and as predicted weeks ago, he replaced Interior Minister of Izkia Siches. The doctor, who seemed to stumble from one controversy to the next in the post, will be replaced by the Party For Democracy member Carolina Tohá, who was General Secretariat Minister for President Michelle Bachelet’s first administration.

As for the other changes, Secretary General of Presidency (Segpres) Minister Giorgio Jackson left his spot to take charge of the Social Development Ministry, left open by Jeanette Vega’s exit a couple of weeks ago after the controversy with Hector Llaitul. Ana Lya Uriarte will now lead the Segpres. 

In the Health Ministry, surgeon Ximena Aguilera (independent) will replace Begoña Yarza. Pauta reports that the physician is currently the director of the Center of Epidemiology and Health Politics of the Del Desarrollo University Medicine Faculty. 

The last change announced was the exit of Claudio Huepe from the Energy Ministry. Social Convergence member Diego Pardow, will take his place. Pardow was the coordinator of Boric’s program for the 2021 presidential election.

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