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Marcela Ríos Tobar assumes the regional direction of International IDEA

December 14, 2023
Marcela Ríos Tobar is a sociologist, political scientist and politician.
Daniel Zovatto, an Argentine political scientist, jurist, and expert in democratization, elections, and governance, has held the position since 1996 and is now retiring, leaving a legacy of achievements in Latin America and the Caribbean.

STOCKHOLM – Marcela Ríos Tobar, former Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Chile, will assume the responsibilities of regional director of International IDEA for Latin America and the Caribbean on January 2, 2024.

The change occurred after a competitive selection process and due to the resignation of Daniel Zovatto, who held the position for 26 years. "The organization will continue to prosper and reach new horizons," she said regarding Ríos Tobar's appointment.


Marcela Ríos Tobar is a sociologist, political scientist and politician. She is of Chilean and Canadian nationality. She has a doctorate in political science, a long academic career, and a presence in international organizations. She was Minister of Justice and Human Rights in Chile between March 2022 and January 2023. During her administration, she focused on strengthening access to justice and the justice and childhood agenda, along with the promotion of human rights and the reparation of victims of human rights violations.

Regarding his new position, Ríos Tobar highlighted that "it is an honour to lead the work of International IDEA for Latin America and the Caribbean when democracies face setbacks, new threats and challenges to be able to respond to people's expectations in the region. I hope to contribute to strengthening and giving continuity to the management that Daniel Zovatto has carried out during these last decades."

Before her role as minister, she served as deputy representative and governance coordinator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Chile for more than 14 years, from where she led multiple studies and reports on governance and the state of democracy. , contributing to the processing of political reforms. She has served on the boards of several non-governmental organizations and think tanks, including Comunidad Mujer, a civil organization that works for gender equality. In the first term of former President Michelle Bachelet's government, Ríos Tobar joined the Commission for the Reform of the Electoral System, and later, in the second government of the former president, he participated in the Commissions for the Reform of the Pension System, Influence Peddling and the Corruption. She was recently a visiting scholar at the Latin American Center at the University of Oxford, England, and a consultant for the Ford Foundation and the UNDP.


International IDEA's activities in Latin America began in 1996. Currently, its work focuses on evaluating and monitoring democracies in the region. We have program offices in Chile and Peru and a regional office in Panama.

The objective is to promote dialogues at different levels and identify proposals that strengthen democracies. We collaborate with various actors such as electoral management bodies, national and subnational governments, parliamentarians, policymakers and constituents, civil society, political parties, journalists, academics and other relevant entities. This effort also extends to international organizations like the United Nations (UN).

You can find images of Marcela Ríos Tobar, regional director of International IDEA in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Available for interviews:

Please contact Marcela Ríos Tobar (

Press contact:

Alistair Scrutton, Head of Communications and Knowledge Product Management, International IDEA International,; Tel. +46 707 21 10 98.


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