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Chile's Boric includes communists in female-majority cabinet

THREE communists have been appointed to ministerial posts in the cabinet of Chilean President-elect Gabriel Boric, which also includes Maya Fernandez Allende, the granddaughter of slain former president Salvador Allende.

She will take up the post of defence minister, putting her in charge of the country’s armed forces nearly 50 years after her grandfather was killed in a US-backed military coup in 1973.

Camila Vallejo of the Communist Party of Chile was appointed government spokeswoman.

Fellow party members Jeannette Jara and Flavio Andres Salazar were made minister for welfare and labour and minister for science and technology respectively.

“We communists will continue to fight for the dignity of the people of Chile,” the party said following the appointments.

Fourteen of the 24 new ministers are women, giving Chile a female-majority cabinet for the first time in the country’s history.

Ms Vallejo described this as “a historic leap in the struggle to make visible and vindicate the role of women in the processes of social and political transformation.

“I am excited about this team of 14 diverse and tremendous women,” she said. “Feminism and gender perspective to power!”

Ms Jara vowed to strengthen the rights of workers, bring dignity to pensioners and promote gender equality.

Mr Boric described the new government as “a team of people who are prepared with knowledge, with experience, and committed to the agenda of changes the country needs.

“The cabinet’s mission is to lay the foundations for the great reforms that we have proposed in our programme,” he added.

Promising to address “structural inequalities,” the former student leader explained: “We are talking about sustainable growth accompanied by a a fair redistribution of wealth.”

Mr Boric won last month’s presidential election following huge social unrest and protests that received a violent response from the armed forces.

But his Broad Front coalition only holds 37 of the 155 seats in Congress, so he will need support from other left-wing parties to pass legislation.

The appointment of Ms Allende is seen by many as a watershed moment. She will be tasked with reforming the military that ousted and killed her grandfather.

She thanked Mr Boric “for placing the trust in me to be part of the cabinet,” adding: “Now it is up to all of us to work to make life in our country more and more just.”

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However, eyebrows have been raised over the appointment of former Organisation of American States employee Antonia Urrejola as foreign minister.

The Socialist Party legislator has accused Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega of human rights abuses and has been highly critical of the  Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.

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