Chilean President Michelle Bachelet recently called for the resignation of her entire cabinet, replacing five ministers and moving four to new positions. The move comes in the wake of corruption scandals and economic woes that have shaken many Chileans’ faith in both the political system and in the Bachelet administration.

Bachelet has painted the cabinet shuffle as a way to refocus her policy agenda, which includes education, tax, and constitutional reforms. However, the move demonstrates the failure of the left-leaning stance that has defined Bachelet’s first months in office. With this new cabinet, Bachelet has signaled a return to a more moderate position in order to shore up support for her reform agenda.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet recently called for the resignation of her entire cabinet, replacing five ministers and moving four to new positions. The move comes in the wake of corruption scandals and economic woes that have shaken many Chileans’ faith in both the political system and in the Bachelet administration.Bachelet has painted the cabinet shuffle as a way to refocus her policy agenda, which includes education, tax, and constitutional reforms. However, the move demonstrates the failure of the left-leaning stance that has defined Bachelet’s first months in office. With this new cabinet, Bachelet has signaled a return to a more moderate position in order to shore up support for her reform agenda.

During her presidential campaign, Bachelet promised to overhaul both social and political frameworks. During her first few months in office, she began enacting some of these reforms; however, rather than taking the time to build consensus for the new policies, Bachelet pushed many of them through Congress without popular support.  

The current “crisis of confidence,” as Bachelet calls it, surrounding Chilean politics is, at least in part, due to the more partisan stance she has taken since she entered office. The way in which she chose to enact her reforms has alienated many moderates who have historically been among her strongest supporters.

Today, the consequences of this alienation can be seen in any Chilean poll. Since Bachelet took office in January, her approval rating has fallen from 54 to 31 percent. These numbers are more striking when one thinks back to the end of Bachelet’s first term: she left office with an 80 percent approval rating.

Bachelet’s falling popularity is due to a combination of factors. These include the corruption revelations which have implicated both opposition party leaders as well as some close to the President, including her son and the former minister of the interior. Additionally, a slowdown in economic growth—Chile’s gross domestic product grew 1.9 percent last year compared to 4.1 percent in 2013—and widespread criticism of the reforms the president pushed through last year have hurt her approval ratings.

One controversial act created a tax on corporations to help fund education reform. This led to severe backlash from the business community which is upset about the tax hike itself and about the lack of input they had before the new tax was enacted. And herein lies the real problem, even when the President is delivering the exact types of reforms she promised during her election, most Chileans believe she is doing so without appropriate debate, dialogue, and analysis of possible outcomes. In fact, 65 percent of Chileans believe that the reforms passed last year were not thought-out by the administration.

With her new cabinet President Bachelet has signaled a desire to increase transparency within her administration and a return to the more-center-than-left position that made her so popular.

Looking at Bachelet’s cabinet, two of the most notable changes included the removal of Finance Minister Alberto Arenas and Interior Minister Rodrigo Peñailillo, both members of the president’s political party. Poor economic growth can account for the rationale behind ousting Arenas, who will be the first finance minister to be removed mid-term in 25 years. Peñailillo will be removed because his company has been named in one of the recent corruption scandals. Arenas will be replaced by Rodrigo Valdés who holds a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is the former chairman of BancoEstado, a state-run bank. Peñailillo will be replaced by former Defense Minister Jorge Burgos.

Bachelet explains her decision to replace the cabinet as a way to bring “renewed life and new faces” to her office as she gears up for another round of education reforms and begins to draft a new constitution.

While the new cabinet may help move some policy changes along, a handful of new ministers will not solve Chile’s economic woes, make the political system less corrupt, or make last year’s reforms more popular. As the President begins anew with the new cabinet, it is critical that she remember the trouble that straying from her moderate base caused her and concentrates on actionable reforms that will win support from the Chilean people.