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Chile: Chile's president promises reforms after protests

2019-10-23T05:57:51.754Z

Sebastián Piñera has presented an agenda against social inequality. He responded to violent protests that were initially directed against more expensive subway tickets.



Chile's President Sebastián Piñera has announced a comprehensive package of social reforms over protracted protests. Thus, the minimum pension should be increased by 20 percent and electricity prices frozen, Piñera said in a speech in the presidential palace. In addition, a health insurance for particularly serious diseases will be introduced and drug prices will be lowered. High earners with a monthly income of more than 10,000 euros are to pay higher taxes and lower the salaries of parliamentarians and senior civil servants.

"Given the legitimate needs and social demands of the population, we have received with humility and clarity the message that the Chileans have transmitted to us," said the conservative politician. He had agreed with representatives of opposition parties to form joint working groups to implement the announced social agenda.

Piñera apologized for not having recognized the extent of social dissatisfaction. "I acknowledge this lack of vision and apologize to my fellow citizens." In recent days, the president had still harsh words against the protest movement elected.

In the social unrest of recent days, 15 people were killed in the South American country. The demonstrations often ended in serious clashes with the police. Many shops, subway stations and banks were set on fire, damaged or looted over the weekend. In about half of the country's 16 regions, an Emergency Ordinance was still in place and in some cases a curfew was in place.

The violent protests had begun on Friday and initially directed against the increase in ticket prices in public transport in the capital Santiago. However, they widened within a short time to a general protest against social and economic problems. The background is the deep gap between rich and poor in Chile. Many Chilean families earn between just under € 500 and € 630 a month.

Source: zeit

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