SANTIAGO – Chile’s governing New Majority coalition met on Tuesday for the first time after its Dec. 17 presidential election defeat by rightist forces but made no self-critique, waiting a more opportune time to do so, according to participants.
The leaders of the parties comprising the center-left coalition met with the ministers of the Political Committee at the presidential palace to evaluate their legislative priorities in the time remaining before the change of government on March 11 and to prepare a summary of what has been achieved by the Michelle Bachelet administration.
That assessment was given to reporters after the meeting by government spokesperson Paula Narvez, who emphasized that “nobody made any specific self-critique. That time will come.”
In the Dec. 17 elections, government presidential candidate Alejandro Guillier lost the balloting by a wide margin to conservative candidate Sebastian Piñera, and although Bachelet’s government has made some cursory assessments of the defeat, it has not yet conducted an in-depth analysis.
On Tuesday, Narvez said, there was “rather a general analysis of the result of these elections,” which in her opinion were a “complex phenomenon ... (with) many variables that factored into the result.”
She also said that Bachelet “has no problem engaging in self-criticism, the issue is rather the opportunity to do so.”
Socialist Fidel Espinoza, the head of the Chamber of Deputies, said that the meeting focused on the legislative projects remaining to the current administration, including higher education reform, the creation of a subsecretariat for children and an anti-bribery bill, among other measures.
Along those lines, he said that – if necessary – he will double the number of scheduled sessions of the lower house in January to fulfill the government’s agenda, but regarding the election defeat he said that the parties are in the process of reflecting on the matter and “it’s not the time to make decisions on whose ‘heads will roll.’”
In any case, though, he spoke about the need to have a unified opposition to confront the future administration of Piñera, who served as president from 2010-2014.
Meanwhile, lawmaker Guillermo Teillier, the head of Chile’s Communist Party, also spoke about the search for areas of agreement with the leftist Broad Front (FA), which obtained 20 seats in the lower house and one Senate seat in last November’s legislative elections.
An accommodation with the FA, he said, would not be “for the building of a bloc, but rather on timely matters” such as constituting congressional committees and winning the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies, among other things.