When Gabriel Boric won in Chili elections in the second round, his girlfriend, Irina Karamanos, said that she had no intention of being first lady, a position considered anachronistic and protocol since her training as an anthropologist and feminist activist. But last January she decided to change her mind and announced that she would assume the position “with the commitment to reformulate it.”
“Reformulating this position implies adapting it to the times, it implies that we have to turn it around, depersonalize it, and this will also mean changing the way we see the relationship between power and women who do politics”, he told the media.
However, the strategy of depersonalizing the position led to giving the first lady’s office a name and surname. Thus, the office was renamed “Irina Karamanos Cabinet”. The decision brought an avalanche of criticism not only from the opposition but also from sectors that voted for borik.
“At what point did our Republic become a Monarchy? Why Irina Karamanos Do you have a cabinet with a first and last name?”commented José Antonio Kast, the ultra-conservative candidate who was defeated by borik in the second round.
At what point did our Republic become a Monarchy? Why does Irina Karamanos have a cabinet with a first and last name? Why is the State at the service of them and not of the Chileans? What a shame. pic.twitter.com/gtFaISCdNw
– José Antonio Kast Rist 🇨🇱 (@joseantoniokast) June 22, 2022
This name change gave the political rivals of the government the goosebumps, as congressmen from the right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party immediately filed a formal complaint with the Comptroller’s Office.
The controversy lasted several hours on Wednesday, and the government had to back down and point out that it was “an administrative error not visa”According to the government spokesperson, Camilla Vallejo. The Cabinet Irina Karamanos then it was called Sociocultural Coordination of the Presidency of the Republic.
An unforced error
Although publicly, Cabinet Irina Karamanos lasted a few hours, the Chilean press reported that the change of name and the new functions of the position had already been registered in March, and that the resolution had been signed by the administrative director of La Moneda, Antonia Rozas.
Opposition congressmen are already asking for Rozas’ resignation, explains “El Mercurio”.
According to “La Tercera”, in addition to the name change, the resolution “It established a series of new functions (or guidelines) in areas such as human rights, which could eventually collide with functions of other State departments”.
The document stated that byCabinet Irina Karamanos” corresponds “identify, propose and coordinate strategic guidelines and programmatic definitions for public policies, in order to contribute to the eradication of inequality and discrimination of historically excluded groups, with an intersectional, human rights and gender perspective, initially with an emphasis on indigenous peoples. indigenous, migration, gender and gender-sex diversity”. At once, “will assume the ceremonial and protocol role according to the republican tradition of Chili in national and international official activities.
According to “La Tercera”, even the Minister for Women, Antonia Orellana, warned of the repercussions that this decision would bring.
Given the controversy, the Karamans He noted on his Twitter account: “With the conviction that we do not want the denomination in a resolution to distance us from the profound changes that we are promoting, the resolution has been amended. Our main interest is to advance in the transformations to the role with which we have committed ourselves”.
With the conviction that we do not want the denomination in a resolution to distance us from the profound changes that we are promoting, the resolution has been amended. Our main interest is to advance in the transformations to the role with which we have committed ourselves. pic.twitter.com/D5NMCvUrec
– Irina Karamanos (@IrinaKaramanos) June 22, 2022
Just a protocol charge?
Since Patricio Aylwin came to power in 1990, the Sociocultural Directorate of the Presidency of the Republic, which brings together the foundations directed by the first lady. However, during the two governments of Michelle Bachelet, the position of “sociocultural director” was created, which was occupied in his second term by his son, Sebastián Dávalos.
With Sebastián Piñera in power, the position of first lady was taken over by his wife, Cecilia Morel.
Since he was elected Gabriel Boric He had indicated that his partner did not like the title “first lady” and that he only wanted to be pointed out by name.
LOOK: IRina Karamanos, the feminist leader and partner of Gabriel Boric who promises to reformulate the role of the first lady in Chile
In fact, at first Karamans She said that she would not assume that position, but later she decided that she would in order to “adapt it to these times”, something that was criticized by some feminist sectors that hoped that the position would be eliminated.
“This disgusts me as a feminist, but above all I am concerned about the story with which it is presented: ‘We maintain a charge to subvert the charge.’ How many ads will come registered in the same logic?reflected at the time the leader Karina Nohales, one of the leaders of the 8M Coordinator, which brings together Chilean feminist groups.
Karamans, 32 years old, studied Political Science, Education and Anthropology at the University of Heidelberg, in Germany, as well as Linguistic Diversity at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She became a feminist activist years before she had a relationship with the current president.
In fact, she was one of the founders of the Autonomist Movement, which later became Social Convergence, the party where she was active. borik and according to his relatives he was Karamans who convinced her boyfriend to run for the Chilean presidency.