SANTIAGO – The act and the timing weren’t surprising; some of the names were. Today, President Piñera replaced four ministers, among them the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Economy. In a speech, the president defended the cabinet shuffle: “2019 will be a more demanding year.”
Amidst international challenges like the trade war between China and the United States, the TPP-11 treaty and the Venezuela crisis and national conflicts around pension reforms, teacher strikes and the Mapuche in the south, President Piñera shuffled his cabinet for the second time in his second term.
The balance: six new ministers, four ministers out. The ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economy, Health and Energy were replaced, and the ministers of Social Development and Public Works changed ministries.
After announcing the cabinet shuffle, the president defended his decisions in a speech. “It was time for action […] 2019 will be a more demanding year. The global economy is getting weaker […] the trade and technological war between the United States and China continues, the price of copper falls and the price of oil rises.”
“The Opposition Is An Obstacle”
On national level, Piñera said that “we have not been able to move forward in the way the country and Chileans require on tax, growth, labor, state and health matters.”
The president blamed the opposition for stalling the pension and education reforms. “They have made it difficult and time-consuming to be able to carry out urgent and necessary modernizations and reforms.” The opposition has a majority in Congress.
Three of the four new ministers were already minister during Piñera’s first term as president. Only one of them, the new Minister of Health Jaime Mañalich, completed the four-year-term.
Read about the cabinet shuffle:
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.