World Bulletin / News Desk
After overwhelming victories by the opposition last month in municipal elections, a sweeping change of the 23-member Cabinet was expected.
Bachelet did not modify the core of her Cabinet but thanked spokesman Marcelo Diaz, Labor Minister Ximena Rincon and the Sports Minister Natalia Riffo, who all resigned.
“I know this have been intense times and that you have done your best to fulfill your tasks,” Bachelet said at a press conference in La Moneda
Former Cabinet chief Paula Narvaez has been named new presidential spokeswoman, while ex-Olympian Pablo Squella will lead sports and the Labor Department will be headed by Alejandra Krauss, the former social development chief.
Bachelet said that times of “intense activity” are coming so “the government must ensure that the changes we have started advance and consolidate”.
Reactions to the reshuffle were immediately from the right-wing opposition. The president of the Independent Democrat Union, Hernan Larrain, said “it was not a Cabinet change, it was a resignation of ministers”.
Three former ministers who served Bachelet are expected to declare their candidacies for president.
Bachelet still a year before general elections next November but the Chilean president faces difficult times ahead as just 24 percent of Chileans approve of her management of the country.