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  HOME | Chile

Chile’s Bachelet Names Record Number of Women to Cabinet

SANTIAGO – The Cabinet announced Friday by Chilean President-elect Michelle Bachelet includes 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, she said, 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.

Nine of the ministers are women.

The last Chilean government with Communist participation fell in the Pinochet-led coup of Sept. 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 U.N. Development Program, as foreign minister.

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

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

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