Gabriel Boric: “The rejection of the deputies to the tax reform is a blow to hope” | The USA Print

Chilean President Gabriel Boric at an event in January in Valparaiso, Chile.RODRIGO GARRIDO (REUTERS)

The Chilean president, Gabriel Boric, has taken a break on a tour to the north of the country and, from the city of Iquique, has referred tonight to the harsh defeat that his government suffered this Wednesday in the Chamber of Deputies, which threw out by land his tax reform project, key to financing his promises. In an eight-minute speech, with a tone of firmness and evident discomfort, the president defended his proposal, which sought to raise 3.6% of GDP, some 10,000 million dollars. He strongly rebuked the parliamentarians who voted against this initiative, which needed 74 votes to be approved, but only got 73, with 71 rejections and three abstentions. “They refused to discuss the possibility of having a debate in the temple of democracy,” Boric questioned, referring to the fact that the project was rejected in its first legislative billboard.

“Our government will continue to govern. In no case will it fall into immobility and it will find the way to enable a serious debate in Parliament and, thus, make the tax reform that Chile needs a reality”, announced the president regarding the new paths that the Executive must follow to carry out the text. Since the Chamber of Deputies will not be able to discuss it for another year, one option is to process the initiative through the Senate, where the political forces are tied. “Today’s vote has been a blow to hope, but Chile knows how to recover from these trifles.” For the president, today, his government “is stronger than a year ago.”

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Boric mentioned the figure known this morning of a surprise drop in inflation. “When the country begins to show signs of recovery and Chile begins to emerge from a long crisis, once again there is a sector that tries not to change things, to leave things as they are. It seems that we do not learn from the lessons of the past,” said Boric, referring to the social outbreak of 2019, when the street exploded due to multiple lawsuits. The 37-year-old leftist president added: “It seems that the objective of some is to hit the government and prevent changes. But they are wrong, because it is not mainly the government that is beaten or defeated, but millions of Chileans who for years have been waiting for a fairer country, a health system that protects them and does not produce debt, a country with decent pensions ”.

It is the main legislative defeat of the Government, a blow for the Administration and for the Minister of Finance, Mario Marcel, who until today was the superstar of the Cabinet. An unexpected blow precisely when La Moneda this coming Saturday will commemorate one year since it came to power and in the midst of strong rumors of a change in the team of ministers for the new stage, which would take place on Friday. It was the right in full that rejected the project, but not only the right. There were at least three left-wing deputies who were not present in the room at the time of the vote due to an incident between one of these parliamentarians and the Minister of Education, Marco Antonio Ávila.

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In his speech, the president listed the battery of measures that will remain unfinished, such as the increase in the guaranteed universal pension, PGU, equivalent to about 310 dollars. “But the rejection is good news for those who evade taxes with impunity and shameful way, who today are going to celebrate the vote of the Chamber of Deputies,” Boric said in this speech that has been broadcast live by the main media.

Boric rejected that there was no willingness to dialogue. “Dear compatriots: in these episodes the harshest differences between the political sectors that end in the worst nonsense and that do Chileans and Chileans harm” come to light. After the political recriminations, however, the head of state has called for overcoming the “fractures”. “I will occupy all my leadership and I will put our entire Government to work to build a majority that will make this reform possible. Because if we do not pass this test – as there are tests that we have not passed in the past and the crack has widened – we will only continue to feed frustration.

The president thanked the parliamentarians “who did not turn their backs on their people,” who approved the first test of the reform that, according to Boric, “was good for Chile.” To those who rejected and “even worse, they left the room not to vote”, he invited them to reflect together to achieve a tax reform “that improves the distribution of wealth in our country and encourages growth.”

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