Gabriel Boric and his first 100 days: initial enthusiasm, inflation and insecurity

Gabriel Boric, president of Chile, came to power 100 days ago amid high expectations, buoyed by a citizenry eager for change, but his “honeymoon” has been the shortest since the return to democracy.

His first 100 days seem like a roller coaster, with a promising start overshadowed by an inflation and security crisis, as well as stumbles by some of his ministers, followed by a rebound after his first address to the nation, a successful international tour and the approval of a historic rise in the minimum wage.

The president himself, who at 36 is the youngest in Chilean history, acknowledged in April that he had had “turbulence” in his takeoff.

After more than two months with the polls down and with approval below 30%, the trend turned around and his approval began to rise in recent days to reach 44%, according to the Cadem poll.

Fighting in the student struggles, Boric won the elections with a coalition between the Broad Front and the Communist Party, and is the first president who is not part of the great blocs that have governed since the end of the dictatorship; however, in his government he included moderate figures.

“We are here for a change mandate and we have to push for a new model that is fairer, that is ecologically more sustainable (…) and that allows us to incorporate women in a better way,” he said on Friday when taking stock of these months.

His landing at the Palacio de La Moneda occurred at a particularly difficult time, with inflation unprecedented in decades, an increase in the perception of insecurity and a resurgence of the “Mapuche conflict”, which confronts the State, Mapuche indigenous and large foresters.

“It is the most complex installation after that of Patricio Aylwin in 1990,” Claudio Elórtegui-Gómez, from the Catholic University of Valparaíso, assured Efe.

In the same line, Fabricio Franco, director in Chile of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso), thinks that anyone who had won the elections “would have had a serious problem governing.”

“For no government in the region is it easy to govern today, even less so for one that has promised an important turn,” he assured Efe.

Among the achievements attributed to him is the increase in the minimum wage to 400,000 Chilean pesos as of August (480 dollars), the largest readjustment in 25 years and an achievement that Mauricio Morales, from the University of Talca, attributes to the Minister of Finance , Mario Marcel, former president of the Central Bank.

“She is the central figure of the cabinet, along with the spokeswoman Camila Vallejo, who has managed to efficiently transmit the messages,” he told Efe.

In addition to the minimum wage, the Government has carried out other economic measures, such as freezing the transport rate or stabilizing the price of fuel.

It also ratified the Escazú Agreement, the first pact in the world to contemplate the rights of environmentalists, and announced that it will present the long-awaited tax and pension reforms throughout the year.

“The main triumph is to have installed seriousness in economic management, when the temptation to enter populism was high,” declared Elórtegui-Gómez.

With his recent trip to Canada and the United States to participate in the Summit of the Americas, Boric managed to distance himself from the authoritarian left in the region and ensured that “no one in the US and Canadian public administration sees a leap into the void in what is It has been doing since March”, according to Franco.

His critics blame him for inexperience and improvisation, especially when dealing with the violence in the south, where he declared a state of emergency and deployed the military, despite promising in the campaign that he would not do so.

The Minister of the Interior, Izkia Siches, is the one who has had the most missteps and from the opposition they have asked for her resignation several times, especially when she accused the previous government of irregularities in the deportation of migrants with wrong information.

“Left-wing governments often have difficulties dealing with public security issues,” stressed the director of Flacso

For Juan Pablo Araya, from the State University of O’Higgins, the mistakes have to do with the lack of experience of the ruling coalition and with “problems of political coordination and control of the agenda.”

“In 2010, when Sebastián Piñera came to power with the first right-wing coalition after the coup, there were quite similar problems. However, he concluded, the current political climate could be having an amplification effect”.