Accompanying Cariola at the table are independent Gaspar Rivas and Christian Democrat Eric Aedo, as first and second vice-presidents respectively.

Karol Cariola makes history by becoming the first communist woman to preside over the Chilean Chamber of Deputies. The former student leader, recognized by her almost 250 thousand followers on Instagram and in her third legislative term, is an obstetrician and gynecologist, adding a diverse perspective to the Chilean political scene.

In her speech after taking office, Cariola expressed her gratitude for the trust placed in her through a transversal agreement with different political forces. She highlighted her commitment to putting the priorities of the Chilean people at the center of her actions, and also expressed pride in being the first communist woman elected president of the Chamber of Deputies.

Upon becoming the first communist legislator to preside over Chile’s Chamber of Deputies, Karol Cariola promised to work to advance pension reform, the fiscal pact and improvements in health and safety.

“Today an atavistic veto fell, not only anti-communist, but also anti-democratic”, she said, regarding the dominance of the opposition against the initiatives of Gabriel Boric’s Government.

“We hope that the dispute of ideas does not turn into disqualifications, much less into lies, which only help to further discredit the exercise of politics and institutions”, he expressed.

The new president of the Chamber of Deputies also expressed her determination to work towards a security agenda because, according to her, Chileans have the right to a crime-free life.

He also called on the opposition to contribute to the country’s development, abandoning calls for the atrophy of the Government and public policies that citizens desire.

Karol thanked everyone who gave her the responsibility of becoming one of the five women who presided over the legislative body in Chile’s history.

By a thread

Despite the opposition’s maneuvers to prevent the Communist Party of Chile (PCCh) from taking office, the deputy managed to prevail in the vote against the candidate from the right and the Democratic party, Joanna Pérez.

After intense negotiations, Chile’s Lower Chamber saw a change of leadership on April 8, when President Ricardo Cifuentes, representative of Christian Democracy (DC), formally resigned from his position. The resignation opened space for a heated dispute over who would assume the presidency of the Corporation.

Initially, there was uncertainty about who would occupy the position, with the opposition offering the presidency to Joanna Pérez, while the government did not have a clear candidacy. This lack of clarity led to doubts about whether any of the candidates would reach the absolute majority quorum necessary to be elected.

Just thirty minutes before voting began, the head of the Communist Party (PC), Luis Cuello, made the candidacy of deputy Karol Cariola official, highlighting her position as the most voted deputy in Chile. Cuello expressed confidence that Cariola would secure a majority, which was confirmed during the vote.

In the first vote, none of the candidates reached the necessary quorum, with Cariola receiving 76 votes and Pérez 75. In the second vote, with a simple majority, Cariola was elected president of the Chamber, becoming the fifth woman to lead the Lower Chamber. Accompanying Cariola at the table were independent Gaspar Rivas and DC representative Eric Aedo, as first and second vice-presidents, respectively.

After the election, in addition to Cariola giving a speech thanking the support and highlighting the importance of working on a priority agenda for Chileans, he also criticized the opposition for its unfair accusations against the Communist Party.

However, Cariola’s words were not well received by the opposition, with deputy Diego Schalper, from Renovação Nacional (RN), criticizing the “inappropriate tone” of his speech. This episode suggests a challenging relationship between the new president of the Chamber and the opposition.

The Minister of Segpres, Álvaro Elizalde, also congratulated the new Chamber table and emphasized the importance of democratic dialogue to advance the approval of legislative initiatives that benefit Chileans in their daily lives, in accordance with President Gabriel Boric’s commitments.

On social media, leaders and political organizations welcomed the election of the new president of the parliamentary group.

“Today is a historic day for our bench, for our party as a whole and for democracy. All the best to our colleague who is a great leader and has all the skills for this important work”, wrote deputy Boris Barrera.

“Fair and legitimate victory for Karol. Deserved for his capacity and commitment”, said the president of the PCC, Lautaro Carmona, in his report on X.

The Government’s spokesperson, Camila Vallejo, congratulated the “first communist deputy to preside over the aforementioned corporation. We value the commitment of those who honored her word in this vote today. When the agreements are fulfilled, we will all move forward,” she said.

Where does Karol come from?

Karol Cariola’s career is marked by a deep involvement with social and political issues from a young age. Born in the metropolitan region of Santiago, she began her interest in student politics at the age of 16, joining the student movement at the University of Concepción.

In the 2000s, during the first decade of the millennium, Cariola emerged as one of the main leaders of the Chilean student movement. She played a fundamental role at the height of student mobilization between 2006 and 2013, a period characterized by massive marches and new leaders emerging, including Camila Vallejo, also from the Communist Party.

One of the milestones of his work was his leadership in negotiations that resulted in the freezing of university enrollments and tuition fees in 2008, in response to the harmful effects of neoliberalism on Chilean education.

In addition to his dedication to the student cause, Cariola stood out for his actions in times of national crisis, such as during the earthquake in Chile, when he mobilized thousands of volunteers to provide assistance in affected areas.

His political rise continued with his election to the presidency of the Chilean Communist Youths, becoming an influential voice in national politics. Throughout her terms as an MP, she has demonstrated an unequivocal commitment to crucial issues such as reproductive health, women’s rights and food security.

In the 2021 legislative elections, held on November 21 of that same year, she was re-elected in office with the first majority at national level, exceeding 77 thousand votes (23.6%), for the period 2022-2026. Member of the Constitution, Health and Emergency, Disaster and Fire Commissions. On March 15, 2022, she was elected president of the Committee on Constitution, Legislation, Justice and Regulations of the Chamber of Deputies, becoming the first woman to hold this position.

Karol Cariola’s leadership reflects not only his own merit, but also the support and trust of the Chilean population, especially in districts where his support base is solid. His election comes at a crucial time for Chile, as the country faces significant political and social challenges, including the ongoing constituent process and demands for structural change.

Upon assuming the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies, Cariola commits to representing and defending the interests of the Chilean people, promoting proposals for real and structural change. His rise to leadership position reinforces the importance of political diversity and civic engagement in building a future for Chile.


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