Is there hope? The scenario posed by Boric after the parliamentary rejection of the tax reform
The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, described the refusal of the Chamber of Deputies to debate the tax reform proposed by his government as «a blow to hope», a decision that according to the president harms millions of Chileans who fight for «a fairer country».
«Today’s vote may be a blow to hope, but, nevertheless, Chile knows how to recover from these trifles», Boric said, noticeably upset, in a public statement on Wednesday night from Iquique, in the Tarapacá Region, north of the country.
The president, who is about to celebrate a year in power, added that Congress, by rejecting the idea of legislating the tax reform bill, denied the possibility to Chileans who want and fight for decent pensions, better distribution of wealth and «a health system that protects them».
«They refused to discuss the possibility of having a debate in the temple of democracy», Boric questioned the parliamentarians who voted against the initiative that sought to collect 3.6% of GDP, some 10,000 million dollars, and which required 74 votes to be submitted for discussion, but got 73, with 71 rejections and three abstentions.
He also said that in Chile, «there is a sector that tries not to change things» and wants to «leave things as they are».
«It seems that we do not learn from the lessons of the past, and it seems that the objective of some people is to ‘hit’ the Government and prevent changes, but they are wrong, because it is not mainly the Government that they ‘hit’ or defeat, but millions of Chileans», added Boric.
The Chilean president also commented that this rejection, just as it is bad news for the vast majority of the population, «is good news for those who evade taxes with impunity and in a shameful manner … In these episodes, the harshest differences between the political sectors end up in the worst nonsense and the final result is that they do harm to the men and women of Chile».And now what, will there be reform?
Although the decision was a severe setback, Boric stressed that «Chile has a future full of opportunities within reach» that is based on natural wealth, intelligence, «drive and courage» of the population, economic and institutional strength and «in the confidence in themselves» that they still have to develop.
«Today we are stronger than a year ago and we will continue to govern with greater unity in the governmental alliance, and calling on other sectors to be able to build the fair, equitable and developed country that we all want», said the Chilean president, who despite the defeat, congratulated the deputies who did not turn their backs on their people.
He also assured that he will continue working «with unity and dialogue» to advance the tax justice «that Chile needs and deserves to improve the quality of life», because otherwise «frustration» will continue to increase.
«I will occupy all my leadership and I will put our entire government to work to build a majority that will make this reform possible», said Boric.
«Our government will continue to govern. In no case will it fall into immobility and it will find the way to enable a serious debate in Parliament and, thus, make the tax reform that Chile needs a reality», added the Chilean leader.
The president called on the parliamentarians who voted against and, above all, those who abstained, to overcome «the fractures», to dialogue and reflect together to reach an amendment to the law «that improves the distribution of wealth and encourages growth.
At the moment, the most immediate option for Boric is to send the initiative to the Senate, since the Chamber of Deputies can only re-study the proposal a year after the present rejection. Another option could fall under the responsibility of the constituent process, so as to ensure the amendment through the new Constitution that Chile aspires to have.
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