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Chile meets controversy in remaking the role of First Lady

SANTIAGO (AP) – Chile’s new left-leaning government is doing away with the office of the First Lady in an effort to transform a role that both the president and his partner have characterised as archaic.

The First Lady will now be known as the “sociocultural coordinator of the republic’s presidency”, the government said in a news release yesterday.

The administration of President Gabriel Boric got to that title after having to backtrack on an effort to give the role a makeover by declaring the office once known as “the first lady’s Cabinet” would be changed to “Irina Karamanos’ Cabinet,” using the name of the president’s partner.

The move, which became public on Tuesday, quickly drew accusations from many members of the opposition that the government was trying to personalise an institutional role in the government.

The government’s spokesperson, Camila Vallejo, said the change amounted to an “administrative error” and the reference to “Irina Karamanos’ Cabinet” was removed from the executive’s website yesterday morning.

Chile’s new President Gabriel Boric, accompanied by first lady Irina Karamanos. PHOTO: AP