Chile's Pinera to form "diverse" cabinet

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-19 06:28:44|Editor: Xiang Bo
Video PlayerClose

SANTIAGO, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chile's Sebastian Pinera on Monday said he planned to form a "diverse" cabinet.

"I want it to be a large and diverse team that excludes no one, except for those who want to voluntarily bow out ... all good teams have to combine experience and renovation, and that is going to be the guideline for my next governing team," Pinera told reporters at a press conference.

The pro-business Pinera, who has an irreversible lead in the second round of Chilean presidential elections held on Sunday, did not say who he would be naming to his cabinet or what sectors of society they would be representing, though he suggested women would have a substantial presence.

"When the time is right, I will announce the women and men that will be accompanying me, not just in the cabinet, but also at the agencies and undersecretaries," he said.

Earlier in the day, Pinera, who served as president from 2010 to 2014, met with the incumbent left-of-center President Michelle Bachelet.

Pinera handily won a presidential runoff on Sunday, securing 54.57 percent of the votes, while his rival, the progressive senator Alejandro Guillier, trailed by more than 10 points, who still garnered a sizable 45.43 percent of the votes.

Perhaps with that in mind, Pinera struck a conciliatory tone, saying "I am going to be president of all Chileans, both those who voted for me, and those who voted for my rival, Alejandro Guillier."

Abstention was high, with only 49 percent of the country's 14 million eligible voters going to the polls, according to the electoral body Servel.

When Pinera lost reelection to Bachelet in 2013, it was mainly blamed on his unpopular campaign to privatize education, which Bachelet worked during her administration to change, succeeding in passing major education reform through congress just days before the elections.

It remains to be seen whether Pinera will back or attempt to overturn the bill, which makes a college education free for some 60 percent of Chileans.

On Monday, he appeared to sidestep a reporter's question, saying "I believe in a free education for all those who need it, but it's not fair for us to have to finance education for the most well off."