Chile: Gabriel Boric seals leftist revival with election win

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
Chile's president-elect Gabriel Boric gestures after addressing supporters following the official results of the runoff presidential election in Santiago, Chile, on December 19, 2021.
JAVIER TORRES / AFPChile's president-elect Gabriel Boric gestures after addressing supporters following the official results of the runoff presidential election in Santiago, Chile, on December 19, 2021.

Protests in 2019 highlighted economic inequality and triggered an official redraft of Chile's constitution

Chile’s leftist Gabriel Boric won the presidential runoff election on Sunday, capping a revival of the country’s progressive left that began to develop after widespread protests sparked two years ago.

Supporters cheered in the capital of Santiago, waving rainbow flags of LGBT groups that back his socially inclusive approach as well as plans to overhaul Chile’s market-oriented economic model.

With over 99 percent of ballots counted, Boric had over 55 percent of votes compared with 44 percent for far-right rival Jose Antonio Kast, who conceded defeat.

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"I just spoke to [Gabriel Boric] and congratulated him on his great success," Kast said on Twitter. "From today he is the elected President of Chile."

Protests in 2019 highlighted economic inequality and triggered an official redraft of the constitution. 

"I am going to be the president of all Chileans," Boric said in a call with center-right President Sebastian Pinera, who will step down in March.

The election was Chile’s most divisive in decades, as the two candidates offered starkly different visions of the future.

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Kast ran a law-and-order campaign and was a defender of former dictator Augusto Pinochet. 

Boric rose to prominence leading a student protest in 2011 to demand better and more affordable education. 

Miguel Angel Lopez, a professor at the University of Chile, noted that Boric will now face a complex period ahead, having to negotiate with the opposition due to a split Congress.