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Chilean opposition proposes former Economy Minister for central bank director

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Chilean opposition proposes former Economy Minister for central bank director

Chile's opposition is pushing the Finance Ministry to appoint former Economy Minister Juan Andrés Fontaine to replace Rodrigo Vergara on the board of the central bank, Banco Central de Chile, Diario Financiero reported.

Vergara, who had headed the bank since 2011, was replaced as president by Mario Marcel in early December. However, his place on the board remains vacant with just three years remaining in his 10-year term.

The central bank's board is normally comprised of five members, but for now it is functioning with only four, including Marcel, as it has done several times in the past.

The Finance Ministry is reportedly weighing various options to replace Vergara on the board including Fontaine. Members of the opposition have reportedly met with Finance Minister Rodrigo Valdés in recent days to argue their case, and Chile's governing coalition, Nueva Mayoría, would also support Fontaine's nomination, the report said, citing sources close to the negotiations.

Fontaine served as Economy Minister in the administration of former President Sebastián Piñera and is currently a member of the board at conservative think tank Libertad y Desarrrollo.

Despite pressure from the opposition, however, Minister Valdés is in no rush to name a replacement and is considering other candidates. The pool reportedly includes the central bank's head of research, Alberto Naudon; former budget director, Rosanna Costa; BTG Pactual's chief economist for the Andean region, Luis Oscar Herrera; and Rodrigo Cerda, an alternate director at Clapes UC.