Gabriel Boric has been elected Chile’s new president. The left-wing former student leader received 55 percent of the vote, winning a big victory over his ultra-conservative opponent José Antonio Kast. After his resounding victory, tens of thousands of supporters of 35-year-old Boric took to the streets of the capital Santiago to celebrate.
Before the election, a neck-and-neck race between the two very opposing candidates was expected. In the rural areas, far away from the capital, Kast did surprisingly well in the first round. A large-scale door-to-door campaign by Boric, in which more than a million families were said to have been reached, seems to have been the deciding factor: Boric won almost everywhere compared to the first round.
Also read this report: After decades of good central politicians, Chile finally gets something to choose
Nearly 55 percent of Chileans cast their votes on Sunday. Despite public transport being free on election day, people in several cities across the country complained about a severe shortage of city buses, preventing her from getting to the polling station.
Members of Gabriel Boric’s campaign team accused the right-wing government of Sebastián Piñera of trying to discourage people from voting. Despite this, turnout is higher than in previous presidential elections, when less than half of Chileans voted.
The youngest president ever
With Gabriel Boric, from March, when the new president is installed, Chile will have the youngest president in the history of the South American country. Boric fits in with a generation of new, left-wing leaders who have put progressive themes like climate, women’s and indigenous rights prominently on the conservative country’s political agenda in recent years. Themes that were also among the demands of tens of thousands of Chileans during the large-scale protests of 2019.