Gabriel Boric, the young leftist candidate and new president of Chile
Boric defeated José Antonio Kast, an extreme-right candidate, who quickly acknowledged his defeat. The victory brings new winds for Chile.
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At only 35 years of age, Gabriel Boric will be Chile's youngest president in its history. He also received 4.6 million votes, the highest number ever achieved by a presidential candidate in an election in the history of the South American country.
"In me, you will find a president willing to listen and incorporate different visions," he said on Sunday, Dec. 19 after his victory was confirmed. It was a day in which more than 8.3 million Chilean men and women voted — around 55% of the eligible voters. It is also the highest participation in elections since 2012, when voting ceased to be mandatory.
Boric represents the coalition of the Frente Amplio and the Communist Party, and the new winds of politics in Latin America. The president-elect will be sworn in on March 22.
He received 56% of the votes, an advantage of one million votes over José Antonio Kast, a candidate who represented a figure close to notorious dictator Augusto Pinochet. Kast won the first round, but polls in the second round tipped towards Boric.
Chile has been shaken, especially since 2019, by massive protests of young people due to a social, economic and political crisis. The social outburst was the product of an economic model imposed since the times of Pinochet. The mobilization led to a Constituent Assembly that seeks to reform the institutional path of the country.
Boric supports this change, as well as the strengthening the State and its impact on the economy. In addition, he wants to put an end to the private pension model.
"I will be the president of all Chilean men and women, I will not govern alone within four walls," Boric told Sebastián Piñera, the outgoing president, during a telephone conversation after his victory was proclaimed.
In turn, Kast revealed that he had spoken to Boric to acknowledge his victory.
"As of today he is the President-elect of Chile and deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration. Chile always comes first," said the far-right candidate on Twitter.
Boric is the eldest of three brothers from a middle-class family with Croatian and Spanish origins. He was born in 1986 in Punta Arenas, in Chile's southernmost tip, four years before Pinochet left power, which he gained during the military coup against socialist president Salvador Allende on Sept. 11, 1973.
In 2011, Boric was one of the student leaders of the movement that took to the streets to demand free, quality education in the first term of Sebastián Piñera, the right-wing president who will hand over responsibility for administering the government to him.
In 2013, he won a seat in Congress. In 2019, as a deputy, he supported the protests that put the government on the ropes and called attention to the change of route that the country needed.