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Irina Karamanos: The Greek Partner of Chile’s New President Gabriel Boric

Irina Karamanos Chile
New Chilean President Gabriel Boriz with his partner, Irina Karamanos. Credit: Instagram screenshot

The partner of the incoming Chilean President is a Greek-Chilean woman named Irina Karamanos; a feminist activist, she considers the term “First Lady” outdated now that “times have changed,” she says.

The 32-year-old Greek woman is the partner of the newly-elected President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, who won the runoff election there on Sunday.

Boric, 35, will be sworn in as President on March 11, becoming the youngest president in the history of Chile.

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Boric, a Leftist, won the election with approximately 56 percent of the vote against his right-wing opponent, Jose Antonio Kast, who received slightly over 44 percent.

Who is Irina Karamanos, the partner of Chilean President?

Irina Karamanos, who has been in a relationship with Gabriel Boric for the past two years, is a dynamic, well-educated woman, who considers herself a feminist and has warned Boric that the term “First Lady” and the role associated with that title are obsolete.

She is the daughter of Jorge Karamanos, who is an elementary school teacher who was the leader of the Hellenic community of Santiago in the 1980s.

Irina Karamanos, sobre si sería o no primera dama: “Opinaría que es un cargo que merece ser repensado, porque estamos en tiempos distintos. Han cambiado muchísimas cosas y creo que así también hay que repensar el poder y las relaciones que emergen de él” #LasCarasDeLaMoneda 🌱🌳 pic.twitter.com/HrwNmGkldJ

— Rodrigo Saavedra 1️⃣🌳🧜🏻‍♂️🏳️‍🌈 (@R_SaavedraM) December 7, 2021

Greek partner was described as a “comrade” recently

According to Chilean media, Karamanos made her first appearance on the political scene only a few weeks ago, when she went on stage with Boric on the night he passed to the second round of the presidential run.

Until that moment, Chilean newspaper La Nacion wrote, the left-wing politician had referred to Karamanos as a “comrade.” Now he calls her by her name, Irina.

“Low-key and reserved, Irina Karamanos has a private Instagram account and is embarrassed when asked about Boric,” the newspaper wrote.

Her appearance in the run-up to the polls has been perceived as a bid to attract more traditional voters who want to see a candidate accompanied by a woman.

But there is a detail that dispels this conservative illusion: Karamanos announced that she could relinquish the role of the first lady in the event of her partner being elected, which ultimately occurred with a much larger margin than expected.

“I think it’s a role we need to rethink because we live in different times and a lot has changed. We need to rethink the power and the relationships that emerge from it,” (Karamanos) said last week in a television appearance.

Karamanos’ words echo the views of Boric himself, who had previously stressed that the role of “First Lady” does not make sense and that “there should be no positions in the state that stem from relations of the President with other persons or are connected with them.”

Boric had stressed that his goal if elected would be a state of transparency, where one could gain a position of power because of one’s worth and not because of blood ties or relationships with the President.

The charming Karamanos is just 32 years old; her life’s work so far has nothing to do with the traditional image of a President’s wife. The young woman rarely accompanies her partner to social events, and prefers not to talk about her personal life. She has studied anthropology and social sciences, and speaks four languages: Spanish, Greek , English and German.

Boric, who prevailed on a platform emphasizing the country’s social and fiscal transformation, promised “more social rights” in his speech Sunday night, while promising that the government he would form would be “fiscally responsible.

“There will be more social rights, but we will do it while remaining financially responsible,” said the 35-year-old new president, addressing a crowd of tens of thousands of supporters who went to hear him after his second-round victory over the far-right candidate Jose Antonio Cast.

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