In this interview, Edmundo Jaime Pérez Yoma, the former Minister of Interior under the Bachelet Administration discusses the 2010 presidential transition process in Chile, specifically how they transitioned from one coalition to another, from President Bachelet’s left-wing coalition to President Piñera’s right-wing coalition. He argues that the main responsibility of an outgoing government to an incoming government is to make the transition as smooth as possible. He mentions that to accomplish this, he gave his team a list of instructions on how to effectively handle the transition. Some of the instructions included to not hire any more government officials and to communicate and schedule meetings with President Piñera’s appointed ministers. Moreover, Perez Yoma acknowledges that some ministers were very reluctant to work with the Piñera administration, given that they belonged to a different coalition. He claims that to address this issue he met with those ministers and told them that working with the Piñera administration was in their benefit because it would prevent the incoming officials from blaming them for lack of information. Perez Yoma mentions that the transition process went very smoothly until the February 27th earthquake. Once the earthquake struck, he argues, President Piñera and his administration became very proactive and wanted to manage the situation by themselves. In addition, they lost support from people, like the commander-in-chief of the army, who decided to follow Piñera’s orders because he already had a position secured in his administration. As a result, communication and cooperation between the two administrations worsened after the earthquake. He concludes by recommending to Ministers of Interiors facing a similar transition to the one he handled to prioritize the interests of the country over the interests of both the outgoing and the incoming government.
Case Study: Transferring Power in a Crisis: Presidential Transition in Chile, 2010
Edmundo Jaime Pérez Yoma is a well-known politician from the Christian Democrat Party of Chile. He served as the Minster of Interior for President Michelle Bachelet’s first administration and helped ease the presidential transition process from President Bachelet to President Piñera. Prior to this position, he served, twice, as Minister of Defense during the administration of President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle. In addition to his political career, in the 1990s, he was president on the board of Petrox and Chilectra Metropolitana, oil and electricity companies, respectively.