The president tries to weather the storm that started last year and was exacerbated by the health and economic crisis that has hit the country since the coronavirus outbreak Credit: DPA

SANTIAGO, Chile.- The approval of the early withdrawal of 10% of the pension funds was transformed to

Sebastián Piñera

in his worst political defeat.

A turning point that occurred with the constitutional referendum of October 25 on the horizon and that pushed him to take action

: From a profound cabinet change to an economic revival plan that he announced before the Chilean Congress.

With more than a year and a half to go until his term ends, and amid falling approval to critical levels of 12%, according to the pollster Cadem, the Chilean president changed the configuration of his team of ministers and included figures from the harder right. "A cabinet of rejection," was the phrase that emerged from the opposition, as a way to exemplify the new turn of the Piñera government and its strategy against the plebiscite that will decide whether Chile changes its Constitution.

Precisely, the appointment of Víctor Pérez as the new Minister of the Interior was erected as the symbol of the radicalization of the ruler and of the new spirit of La Moneda. Active defender of Augusto Pinochet and former mayor of the city of Los Angeles during the dictatorshipPérez rose as one of the main voices of the rejection of the new Constitution as senator of the right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party.

At the same time, Piñera also integrated Andrés Allamand into his cabinet in the Foreign Ministry, another historical reference of the right and who was opposed to the withdrawal of 10% of the pension fund and the preparation of a new Fundamental Letter.

After the social outbreak last year, the plebiscite was initially convened for April 26 of this year and later postponed to October 25 due to the expansion of the coronavirus. However, he was surrounded by a blanket of uncertainty about the possibility of being postponed again, according to the government itself in May.


Piñera, with his new cabinet of ministers after the recent changes Source: AFP

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"With this new cabinet, the government has shifted towards even more conservative positions, strengthening the presence of parties and figures that have shown little connection with citizens in social matters and who are supporters of the rejection of a new Constitution. It could be expected that that sum motivates an even greater endorsement of the 'approve' option in the October plebiscite, but that is speculative. Up to now, the polls show a very favorable trend and should be expressed at the ballot box, "Carlos Maldonado, president, told LA NACION of the Radical Party, opponent of Piñera.

Similarly, the ministerial adjustment was also interpreted as a way to appease the spirits within the communities that make up the ruling bloc, fractured after the discussion of the retirement of pension funds.

"The cabinet change is explained by having more consecrated people, with more political capital. Now they are faces with more experience. And, secondly, the team joins the two main parties, National Renewal and the Independent Democratic Union, with its two main factions. It was interpreted to be a tougher cabinet, which in a way it is, but it is not the main reason for the adjustment. In a moment that has been very weak, the government seeks to anchor people with previous capital " , Francisco Covarrubias, dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts of the Adolfo Ibáñez University, pointed out to the nation.

With an economic crisis unleashed by the pandemic – the International Monetary Fund projected a contraction of 7.5% for the GDP this year – and with unemployment that reached 11.2% between last March and MayAccording to the National Statistics Institute, Piñera announced his government's plans to revive the economy in its accountability to Congress. It seeks to offset the loss of 1.8 million jobs in the country.

"This plan is not only an economic plan. It is also a social plan and it has people and families at its heart," Piñera said.

Among the measures, the Chilean head of state announced an employment subsidy program that will benefit up to a million people. The actions contemplate a cost close to 2,000 million dollars, and a public investment plan, which by 2022 will involve an expenditure of 34,000 million dollars.

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. (tagsToTranslate) Weakened (t) Piñera is radicalized with a view to the referendum and aims to revive the economy – LA NACION

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