The Chile that did not change: these are the high officials of the State that continue with a binomial quota (2023)

The recent elections to elect the Convention members who will draft the new Constitution drastically reconfigured the political scene. Between the former Concertación and Chile Vamos, they managed only 62 of 155 constituents, that is to say: the traditional political forces of the post-dictatorship are represented with a meager 40% in the Convention, in which other political forces and independents triumphed.

The relatively unanimous analysis in this regard confirms that the vote punished these two traditional conglomerates of political parties that have taken turns in the exercise of power for 30 years, mainly under the wing of the binomial system, which in parliamentary headquarters, allowed both forces to remain as balanced as possible.

However, where the gaze has not been set so much is in a series of public organizations -some even with constitutional autonomy- which during the post-dictatorship have offered comfortable seats and salaries for representatives from both sides.

These are entities whose members are usually appointed by the President of the Republic with the agreement of the Senate, and that for 30 years have been appointed between the right and the former Concertación as an apparent sign of friendly rivalry.

Faced with this reality, the question that arises is: What sense does such a balancing exercise have in the current political scenario, considering that the outbreak left inoff sidetraditional political forces to such an extent that, between the two conglomerates, they barely represent 40% of the Convention?

What sense does such a balancing exercise have in the current political scenario, considering that the outbreak left inoff sidetraditional political forces to such an extent that, between the two conglomerates, they barely represent 40% of the Convention?

According to the political scientist Hassan Akram, in conversation with INTERFERENCE, the international trend is to create civil services with "public officials, not politicians and careers, who are not handpicked by the President or any political authority, this is part of what it is known as modernization of the State, since making it meritocratic is a pending task. to pay these charges, which are met with many obstacles.

The distribution of these public positions - the binomial kitchen, as others call it - implies that "many officials are disguised asplantabut in reality they are political operators. The clientele networks of the parties have been very strong, and these positions are occupied to reinforce the militant base of the parties”.

According to Akram, in the former Concertación, the sharing of posts between the parties that made it up helped to keep the coalition together, since they came with the bad experience they had in the UP, when internal confidence had deteriorated. In the case of the right, the quotao of positions was fundamental especially after 2005, when the constitutional reforms of Ricardo Lagos removed the role of being "guarantors of the institutionality" to the Armed Forces. "The right wing exercised its power with that closeness to the military world in the 1990s, but already in the 2000s, after the Lagos reform, that military world began to lose importance, and there the quota of positions with the Concertación was essential to consolidate a civil exercise of power," says Akram.

INTERFERENCIA reviewed those who occupy the seats of the Chilean Electoral Service (Servel), the Council for Transparency (CPLT), the National Television Council (CNTV), the State Defense Council (CDE) and the television channel TVN, to see how this "balance of forces" is replicated between sectors whose power today seems more like a memory of the past.

the servant

Although there have been bodies in charge of popular elections in Chile since 1925, the Servel as such has existed since 1986, when its constitutional organic law came into effect, since it is a body created by the 1980 Constitution. It is made up of five councilors appointed by the President of the Republic with the consent of the Senate.

The president of the Board of Directors is the commercial engineer of the Catholic University,Andres Tagle Dominguez, which earns 5.2 million gross for this function, according to public information ininfoprobity.A former UDI militant from the days of Jaime Guzmán, he was also director of Codelco during the years corresponding to the first term of Sebastián Piñera and electoral advisor of Segpres in the same term.

It entered the Servel in 2016 replacing the UDIGonzalo Molina, after he was sued by the SII in the case of irregular financing of politics linked to SQM. Tagle's appointment came from the UDI, but alsowas promoted by the Nueva Mayoría itselfat the time, when Nicolás Eyzaguirre -then Bachelet's Minister of Segpres- said "we as a government do not think that there has been a share here, but that it is an exercise of balances, weights and counterweights".

The rest of the current Council also responds to these balances of power. the counselorPatricio Santamaria Mutishe was the president of the Board of Directors of the Servel between 2013 and this year, when Tagle assumed that position. A former Christian Democrat militant, he was vice-president and candidate for parliament for that party without being elected, and also Undersecretary General of Government in the mandate of Ricardo Lagos, between 2003 and 2005.

LawyerJose Miguel Bulnes ConchaA partner of the Vial y Cia. firm, he was appointed Servel advisor in 2013. He is a member of Renovación Nacional and close to Carlos Larraín. On the other hand, the civil engineer from the University of Chile,Juanita wins Quiroz(PPD), was appointed in 2017 after having been Undersecretary of Telecommunications in the government of Eduardo Frei Ruiz Tagle. The sociologist and political scientist closes the list of directorsAlfredo Joignant Rondon, from the Socialist Party, a key figure in the construction of the program of the second government of Michelle Bachelet, which has been a member of the Council since 2013.

National Television Council

Another public body that has been subject to heavy cuts in its members during the post-dictatorship has been the National Television Council (CNTV), the body charged with overseeing “the proper functioning of Chilean television through institutional policies,” as its points out institutional site.

The CNTV is currently made up of eleven directors, whose president must be appointed directly by the President of the Republic, while the other ten are also appointed by the President but with the approval of the Senate.

The current president of CNTV is a commercial engineerCarolina Cuevas Merino-which obtains a gross salary of $6.5 million gross for this function- founding militant of Renovación Nacional and appointed by Piñera as Undersecretary for Women and Gender Equality on March 11, 2018, when Piñera assumed his presidential mandate. For two months she was even a substitute minister of that portfolio in 2020, until she was appointed president of the CNTV by Piñera to replace Evópoli and also a former minister of Piñera, Catalina Parot.

The political affiliation of the rest of the councilors accounts for how the cake is distributed.

On the right -what is now Chile Vamos- isAndrés Egaña Respaldiza, a CNTV advisor since 2011, who was a representative for the UDI for two terms between 2002 and 2010. In additionGaston Gomez Bernales, a lawyer close to Piñera, a former member of Renovación Nacional, who was also the constitutionalist who drafted the request before the Constitutional Court on behalf of the Piñera government to stop the withdrawal of 10% of pension funds in April of this year.

The lawyer is also a counselorAugustine Montt, son of the former mayor of La Reina and RN militant Luis Montt Dubournais; and alsoRoberto Guerrero Valenzuela, corporate lawyer who was dean of the Law School of the Catholic University and close to the world of the traditional right.

To them are addedMaria de los Angeles Covarrubiasclose to the ecclesiastical world andCarolina Dell Oro Crespo, philosopher and teacher at the Universidad Católica and Universidad de Los Andes, who has worked mainly in the business world. She replaced RN Hernán Viguera Figueroa in 2018.

For the former Agreement isMabel Iturrieta Bascuñán, current vice president of the CNTV, has been a counselor since 2014. Close to the Radical Party, she was Justice Seremi for the Coquimbo region during the government of Ricardo Lagos. She is alsoGenaro Arriagada Herrera, Christian Democrat militant, former president Frei Ruiz Tagle's minister and Ricardo Lagos' campaign manager.

The list is completed by the lawyerMaria Constanza Tobar, former head of the second floor of the last government of Michelle Bachelet,Marcelo Segura, professor who served as Seremi del Trabajo in the first Bachelet government and also the actressHope Silva, founder of the Chilean Actors Corporation, which had the support of the Socialist Party, when she entered the corporation replacing former senator Jaime Gazmuri (PS).

Council for Transparency

The CPLT, an autonomous body created in 2008 by theLey 20.285, on access to public information, is in charge of "promoting the transparency of the public function, monitoring compliance with the rules on transparency and publicity of the information of the bodies of the State Administration, and guaranteeing the right of access to public information." information".

It is made up of four advisers appointed by the President of the Republic with the agreement of the Senate, who also represent the balance of forces between the Concertación and the right.

The political scientistGlory of the Fountain isits president, for whose role she receives monthly salaries of $8.6 million gross. A member of the Socialist Party, she has been a councilor since 2017, and president of the Council since October 2020. On that date, she left the presidency of Fundación Chile 21, a think tank linked to the Coalition founded in 1992 and chaired until 2000 by former president Ricardo Escobar Lakes.

The same year that the appointment of Gloria de la Fuente was approved by the Senate, the appointment ofInfante Francisco Leturia, both made by Michelle Bachelet. Lawyer and academic from the Catholic University, Leturia belongs to a family with a long UDI tradition. This is the case of his father, Javier Leturia Mermod, one of the founders of the trade union party and a close friend of Jaime Guzmán. In addition, Francisco Leturia Infante's brother, Cristóbal Leturia, is Undersecretary of Public Works in the current government of Sebastián Piñera. The then senator of the republic, Hernán Larraín Fernández -now Minister of Justice-appreciated the appointment of both, as pointed out by a publication on the Senate site.

The other two directors were recently appointed, in October 2020 by Sebastián Piñera. Is aboutBernardo Navarrete, a political scientist from Usach linked to the Christian Democrats; andNatalia Gonzalez(UDI), a lawyer from the Catholic University, former adviser for Finance and Energy in the first government of Piñera and part of Libertad y Desarrollo.

The appointment of Navarrete came to fill the space left by the previous president of the CPLT, Marcelo Drago, who left the corporation amid numerous controversies. However, the appointment of Natalia González was the one that generated the most controversy, since she was questioned due to her lack of expertise in matters of transparency, in addition to having worked for large companies, which could mean a conflict of interest. This was stated in a letter from the association of CPLT officials, according toan article of INTERFERENCE. González would have been put in that position through the mediation of Cristian Larroulet, ideologue of LyD and main adviser to the Piñera government.

State Defense Council

The State Defense Council is the fiscal institution that is in charge of defending the interests of the State in various legal situations. Its board of directors is made up of 12 advisory lawyers, appointed by the President of the Republic, who cannot be removed from office until they reach the age of 75. They can only be removed with the consent of the Senate.

The current president also appoints the president of the CDE from among the 12 active directors, a position that lasts three years and can be extended to 6 if it is renewed. Each counselor receives a salary of 6 million pesos.

Due to this system, the appointment of each counselor finally becomes a political game, where each president, when he has the opportunity, tries to install lawyers who are similar to his ideas. Of the 12 councilors, the president and two members are closest to the government, while the rest of the 9 members were appointed during the governments of the former Concertación and the Nueva Mayoría.

The current president of the CDE isJuan Antonio Peribonio Poduje. Sebastián, for which he receives remunerations of $11 million. Pinera, in March 2014, appointed Peribonio as counselor, when he was serving as Mayor of the Metropolitan Region. He is a member of Renovación Nacional and before being a councilor of the CDE he was councilor of Las Condes, legal adviser of the Municipality of Las Condes, director of Sernac, from 2010 to 2012, and Mayor between 2012 and 2014. Since 2018, he has taught classes at the Development University and the Catholic University. He was appointed by Piñera as president of the CDE in April 2020.

Clara Szczaranskishe was appointed as a CDE counselor in 1994, and in 1996, during the government of Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, she was appointed president of the entity, a position she held until 2005. She was a communist militant and exiled in Italy, currently close to the former Concertación .

Another member linked to the former Concertación is the lawyerPaulina Veloso, who was appointed in 2005 as a CDE counselor. She is a member of the Socialist party, between 2005 and 2006 she was Minister General Secretary of the Presidency, in the first government of Michelle Bachelet.

Also from the same political sector is the counselor of the CDE,Carlos Mackenney Urzua, who was Undersecretary of War in the government of Frei Ruiz-Tagle and of the Navy in the government of Ricardo Lagos. In October 2005, Lagos appointed him as a CDE counselor and in December as CDE president, until 2011.

Rodrigo Quintana Melendez, a PS militant, was appointed counselor in 2006 by the Bachelet government, and among his background is that in 2018 he worked for the Barrick mining company in support of the Pascua Lama project.

Maria Inés Horvitz Lennon, an independent criminal lawyer close to the former Concertación, was appointed as counselor in 2006. The following year, Bachelet appointed as counselorAna Maria Hubner Guzman, also independent, and in May of the same year toJaime Varela Aguirre.

On March 9, 2010, a few days after leaving office as president, Bachelet appointed as counselorDaniel Martorell, criminal lawyer and who was head of studies at the CDE before becoming a counselor. In March 2017, in her second term, Bachelet appointed the academic and lawyer as adviserRaul Letelier.

In 2019 Piñera appointedSebastian Soto Velasco, constitutional lawyer and one of the "disciples" of Cristián Larroulet. Another member related to the government is the former Minister of DefenseAlberto Espina, appointed by Piñera in November 2020 as a member of the CDE Council.

National Television of Chile (TVN)

The board of Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) is made up of six directors, a chairman of the board, a representative of the workers and the executive director, the latter is in charge of managing the channel. The President of the Republic designates the president of the entity directly.

In 2019, Piñera appointed as president of the board of directorsAna Holuigue, an economist from Universidad Católica, also director of ENAP, close to the right and who was already a member of the board of directors. Holuigue took office after the resignation of Bruno Baranda as president, former Minister of Social Development during Piñera's first term.

The president appoints, with the approval of the Senate, the other members of the board of directors. The current government has on its board the journalist, former director of La Segunda until 2011, National Journalism Award in 1993,Pilar Vergara; to the lawyerGonzalo Cordero(UDI) andPauline Kantor(Evópoli), journalist and former Sports Minister in Piñera's second term.

On behalf of the Ex Concertación, it isAdriana del Piano(PPD), who was Minister of National Assets between 1990 and 1994, Minister Director of Sernam between 2000 and 2003, Metropolitan Mayor between 2007 and 2008, Minister of Education between 2015 and 2018; andNivia Palma, who directed the Fondart, former Minister of National Assets and former director of Dibam, PS militant and current campaign manager for Paula Narváez.

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