By Lucila Sigal
(Reuters) – Chilean author Isabel Allende heralded the young and female-dominated incoming government of President-elect Gabriel Boric on Monday and said it marked a much-needed changing of the guard of the Andean country’s political leadership.
“It’s a new generation rising to power. It’s time for the old windbags to go home and play bingo,” the 79-year-old writer said during a Zoom press conference to mark the launch of her latest novel “Violeta,” a tale inspired by her mother.
The 35-year-old Boric revealed his Cabinet on Friday. It was majority female, with over half a dozen ministers under the age of 40 and including other politicians who made their name, like Boric, during student-led street protests a decade ago.
“I am delighted by the ministers Boric has appointed because it is very diverse, there are 14 women and 10 men. There really is a solid intention there for gender parity and that is just extraordinary,” said Allende.
Allende, a well-known feminist, is related to Chile’s socialist former President Salvador Allende, who was overthrown in a bloody coup in the 1970s by General Augusto Pinochet. Fleeing into exile after the coup, she has spent most of her life outside Chile, first in Venezuela and then in the United States.
Salvador Allende’s granddaughter, socialist lawmaker Maya Fernandez, was named by leftist Boric as his incoming defense minister, in what some have seen as an ironic twist of fate.
“Not only will she be a Chilean minister, she will be minister of defense,” said Allende. “She will have to deal with the Armed Forces and let’s not forget about the past of the Armed Forces in Chile. I see it as a curious thing.”
(Reporting by Luclia Sigal in Buenos Aires; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Rosalba O’Brien)