Monday, April 15

Boric tries to allay fears in his first face to face with big business | International

The elected president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, speaks during the closing of Enade, the largest business forum in Chile, this Thursday, in Santiago.
The elected president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, speaks during the closing of Enade, the largest business forum in Chile, this Thursday, in Santiago.Alberto Valdes (EFE)

Less than a month after his electoral triumph on December 19 and a few days after his Cabinet announced, the future president of Chile, the leftist Gabriel Boric, had his first face-to-face with Chilean big business on Thursday since it turned out. elect. He did so at the most important sector event in the country, Enade, in a speech where he ratified his moderate intention and openness to dialogue and which, surprisingly, started breaking schemes. Instead of quotes from politicians, Boric began his speech with the poem Punta Arenas Cemetery —His hometown, in the extreme south of the country—, of the Chilean Enrique Lihn. It is a letter that refers to one of the issues that most concerns the militant of the Broad Front that will arrive in La Moneda on March 11, inequality. “Not even death could equal these men, who give their name on different tombstones, or shout it to the wind of the sun that erases them: another bit of dust for a new blast”, begins the piece that Linh wrote in 1963, one of Boric’s literary references, a very reader of poetry.

As he has not yet announced who his team of ministers will be, one of the main doubts that mark Chilean politics has to do with the emphasis with which Boric will try to apply its transformation measures. If, in short, the moderation that he showed between the first round of November 21 and the ballot on December 19 will prevail or not, where he increased his support from 25% to 55%. It was the same president-elect who tried to answer this question in his 27-minute speech before the main business unions, in an event that 30 years ago brought together the country’s leaders to expose their views on Chile.

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“Probably some people may have thought that this reference to gradualism and fiscal responsibility was a campaign speech. These disquisitions by some analysts, which Boric is, if the first or second round … but I am the same, “he said, trying to clear the fears with which a part of Chilean society observes its start and first signs. “My words about gradualism and fiscal responsibility were not a runoff campaign disguise, but a deep conviction that I reiterate,” said the president-elect.

It has been the line that Boric has taken since he won the presidential elections against the ultra-conservative José Antonio Kast, from whom he took more than 10 points ahead: that of openness to dialogue. In these weeks when the change of command is organized, Boric has taken pains to show that his interpretation of the victory is related, precisely, to the ability he showed between the first and second rounds to summon different worlds, those of the Broad Front and the Party Communist, the two main forces that sustain your coalition. It does so despite the fact that some sectors of its government alliance seem to resist centrism. It was what he assured in the first in-depth interview since the night of the triumph, granted to a regional media, which is not usual in a country strongly centralized in the capital, Santiago.

“We would make a big mistake if we interpreted the second-round result arrogantly. It was an important result, almost 12 points apart, but if we interpreted this as an invitation to dispense with dialogue with the rest of the political forces, we would make a serious mistake that would bog us down very soon, “Boric analyzed in the newspaper. Conception, in a text published on Sunday.

Before the businessmen this Thursday, Boric spoke of generating conditions of stability, dialogue, gradualism and fiscal responsibility, but in turn he took charge of the agenda of deep transformations that he seeks to deploy between 2022 and 2026, the four years of his Government. He described that “the bulk of the population lives surrounded by uncertainty” and stated that he had the “conviction” that all those present – among whom was Juan Sutil, president of the union Confederación de la Producción y el Comercio, CPC, among others business leaders – did not want to repeat history. He was referring to the social outbreak of October 2019 that put Chilean institutions on the ropes and opened the way to the constitutional process. “Our current the status quo it slows down economic development and deepens social unrest. We already saw it in 2019, and if we do not advance in material solutions from the hand of the institutional ones (which are discussed today in the constituent process), we will not have solved the causes that led us to the social outbreak “, analyzed Boric, dressed in a suit and no tie.

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“No one is going to save himself alone,” said Boric in his speech, at an events center in Huechuraba, the northern area of ​​Santiago, where he reinforced the redistributive intention of his economic agenda and asked for the commitment of businessmen. For Boric, “there can be no sustainable growth without a fair distribution of wealth” and he explained that his government plan has three central axes: strengthening the social protection network, pushing the Chilean economy out of its “productive stagnation, which has almost 10 years ”and face“ decisively ”the climate crisis. He spoke that in his four years in office he will seek to generate “sustainable conditions of stability for all members of society”, which, he said, includes companies.

He took the opportunity to try to calm the high expectations generated by his Administration, especially in the 4.6 million people who voted for him in the second round. “It is important that we all weigh expectations,” said Boric, exemplifying urgent problems for Chile, such as the increase in camps or labor informality. And he referred to what he means by radicalism, as it has been described many times. “No structural change is achieved overnight. The radicality is not in who shouts the loudest, nor in who more adjectives he puts in his sentences, or how many esdrújulas he puts in his speeches. Radicality lies in the ability to convene, in making sense of large sustainable majorities over time, and that makes the reforms great consensus in society that allow us a more just life, “said Boric, who in his same coalition has a forces that would prefer more accelerated transformations.

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In an event where business leaders asked him for restraint – Sutil himself said that Boric seemed clear that he should govern for everyone – he spoke about investment, employment and a green government. And he specified in the spirit of his tax reform, with a burden of around five points of GDP in four years. “This tax reform should not be seen as the tax reform of my Government or as a confrontation between social classes, between good and bad. It must be seen as a new fiscal pact, which is the product of a broad, non-delaying social dialogue, and whose changes are lasting, “said Boric, who proposes moving towards a regime” more similar to that of most OECD countries. , both in terms of collection and progressivity ”.

They were part of the previous signals that the president-elect of Chile gives to the private sector a few days before an announcement that awaits both the Chilean political scene, as well as the markets: the name of his minister of Finance, which will give light to a large extent of the tone you want to give your Administration.

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