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Héctor Barría, new head of the DC bench: “I will make the party’s voice respected if we are not listened to by the government: it is one thing to be meek, but never ‘meek’”

For Hector Barriathe new head of the bench of the deputies of the Christian Democracy (DC), the contribution of his party today is moderation, but always with a view to progress, he says. To express this position, he considers it essential to remain outside the government alliance of the President Gabriel Boric. In fact, he reiterates that the possibility of entering the government, despite the approaches, has already been ruled out.

This week the ruling parties invited the DC to sign a declaration to condemn the murders of the police in Cañete. The party, however, chose its own path. Do they insist on staying out of it?

Of course. We still have some differences (with the ruling party). Even more so when voices like that of Congresswoman Maite Orsini appear, voting against processing security regulations until they are fully dispatched. That makes that difference. We are not part of the government, we are not in any ministry or undersecretariat, therefore it is surprising that some want us to go together in these types of statements.

Considering that the government parties reached an agreement with you and gave in so that you would be well represented in this pact, isn’t it petty for them to withdraw?

I don’t think so. What happened this week proves us right not only to the DC, but also to a community that expects government forces to take a risk in matters of security and not look for the fifth leg of the cat. Representative Orsini shows that the government, when it approaches that electorate of the first round, ends up doing them harm. Between these advances and setbacks, we have our own perspective. In DC we do not have any fears when it comes to security. It has to be in accordance with the rule of law, the Constitution and the laws, but without any type of bias.

Beyond the security issue, what prevents them from recognizing themselves as pro-government? At times, it seems that the bench is more loyal to the government even than some of the alliance itself.

All the votes of the DC have always been on security issues. There are sectors of the government that, when it comes to security regulations or norms that require this State responsibility, respond or vote against. But the DC is not part of this government because we are proud of what was built during the governments of Patricio Aylwin and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle.

That being the case, don’t you think the path is easier for the DC? They vote and agree with the ruling party, but they do not pay any of the costs of being a government.

I think not, because we do not have any position within this government, we do not have any influence from a ministerial point of view. From the first moment we said that we were not part of it. There was a kind of rapprochement, but that is now over. Today the possibility of entering the government is a page of the book that has already been turned, that chapter has been closed.

How important is the result of the municipal elections?

If the government does poorly in the municipal elections, it is practically over from the decision-making point of view. The government must end according to the mandate entrusted to it by the citizens according to the Constitution, but from the point of view of influence, if this government plus us does not achieve a favorable result in the municipal elections, the space practically opens for a new right-wing government. The government sectors have understood that responsibility. For this reason, they have agreed to generate pacts with the DC, more than we have with them, because let us remember that we are the party with the most mayors and councilors from the center-left.

As head of the caucus, Eric Aedo was characterized by having a critical tone towards the government. Do you want to keep it?

We all have some different personality. Today the ball is in the government’s court: if they want to have a better relationship with us, well, let them give signals. On my part, always in the best spirit, confrontation does not characterize me. But I will ensure that the voice of the DC is respected accordingly if we are not heard or are not taken into consideration in the political dispute. It is one thing to be meek, but never ‘meek’.

Basically, they are not going to give the government a blank check…

In a democratic system that should not happen.

Are you interested in having meetings with the ministers of the political committee, with Carlos Durán, with President Boric?

Without a doubt, because the DC plays a balancing role to move forward. Our ability to dialogue will always be available. Here in the south we are good at talking.

Deputy Diego Ibáñez (FA) stated that the municipal pact could give rise to a large center-left coalition, from the PC to the DC. Do you see it possible?

Yes, to the extent that the actions go in that line. Unfortunately, Ibáñez made some unfortunate statements supporting a candidate outside the agreement in Concepción. Let’s hope that these types of actions are rectified, because it would be a catastrophe for a government that claims to be transformative to hand over the government to the right in the next presidential elections.

How do you see the FA in Congress?

I am close to several deputies of the FA. They had a somewhat slow growth process, but that has allowed them to take charge of the role they have. They are no longer opposition, they are not leaders. I see that they have achieved a certain level of greater duty, except for the decisions of Orsini and Ibáñez days ago, but they tend to be exceptions.

Are you interested in building bridges with the opposition? With his former comrades who are today in Democrats and Yellows.

Of course. In Congress one talks with all sectors. As DC, we have to be able to project that virtue in politics, because unfortunately sometimes only fights go viral.

What diagnosis do you currently make of CD? Decades ago they concentrated more than half of the Chamber, now there are five.

We are at a crucial stage. I don’t see it as a crisis, because we have a great opportunity again in the municipal elections. And in recent years we have not seen any mayor or councilor with serious corruption problems, as happens on the right.

Do the five deputies who are there have the power to influence the decisions of the Executive?

We have made quite a few proposals, and that was noticed. Unfortunately, the expected result was not achieved, but the participation of the DC was crucial in the pension reform.

What would you say is the contribution of the DC today?

Moderation, but with a view of progress. Many times the DC was seen as the pivotal party, but without proposals. Today we are a party that launches proposals and seeks articulation.

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