A left-wing millennial who rose to prominence during anti-government protests was elected Chile’s next president on Sunday after a grueling campaign against free-market firebrands comparable to Donald Trump. With 56 percent of the vote, Gabriel Boric easily defeated MP Jose Antonio Cast by more than 10 points, who tried unsuccessfully to scare voters that his young, inexperienced rival haunted Chile as Latin America’s most stable, advanced economy. will break the record.
In a model of democratic civility, broken by the campaign’s polarizing rhetoric, Cast immediately gave up, tweeting a photo of himself on the phone congratulating his opponent on his “grand victory.” He later traveled personally to Borik’s campaign headquarters to meet with his rival.
Meanwhile, outgoing President Sebastian Pinera – a conservative billionaire – held a video conference with Boric to offer his government’s full support during the three-month transition. Among a crowd of supporters, Boric crawled over a metal barricade to the stage, where he began an encouraging victory speech to thousands of young supporters in the indigenous Mapuche language.
The winner highlights the progressive positions that have launched his unlikely campaign, including a promise to fight climate change by blocking a proposed mining project in Chile, the world’s largest copper producer. He also promised to end Chile’s private pension system – a hallmark of the neoliberal economic model imposed by the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
“We are a generation that has emerged in public life and demands that our rights be respected as rights and not treated like consumer goods or business,” Borik said. “We know that justice for the rich and justice for the poor continues, and we will no longer allow the poor to continue to pay the price for Chile’s inequality.”
He also gave a wide outcry to the women of Chile, a major voting bloc who feared that a cast victory would take back years of steady gains, promising that they would be “heroes” in a government that would who will try to “get behind once and for all”. The patriarchal legacy of our society.”
In Santiago’s metro, where fare hikes in 2019 triggered a wave of nationwide protests that exposed the shortcomings of Chile’s free market model, Boric’s young supporters, some of them waving flags with the candidate’s name , jumped up and shouted in unison. City to join the thousands gathered for the presidential-elect’s victory speech.
“It’s a historic day,” said a teacher, Boris Soto. “We have defeated not only fascism, and the right wing, but also fear.”
Boric’s victory is likely to be felt across Latin America, where ideological divisions are growing amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has reversed a decade of economic gains, exposed long-standing shortfalls in health care and, among the worst One of the inequalities is in the world.
At 35 years old, Boric will become Chile’s youngest modern president when he takes office in March and only the second millennial to lead in Latin America after El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele. Only one other head of state, Giacomo Simoncini of the city-state San Marino in Europe, is minor.
Boric was among several activists elected to Congress in 2014 following major protests for high-quality education. At the stump, he vowed to “bury” the neoliberal economic model abandoned by Pinochet and raise taxes on the “super rich” to expand social services, fight inequality and promote protection of the environment.
Cast, who has a history of defending Chile’s previous military dictatorship, finished two points ahead of Boric in the first round of voting last month but failed to secure a majority. This set off a face-off against Borik.
Boric was able to reverse the gap by moving from his base in the capital, Santiago, to a larger margin than pre-election opinion polls had forecast, and was able to attract voters in rural areas who were not in favor of political extremes. For example, in the northern region of Antofagasta, where he finished third in the first round of voting, he defeated Kast by almost 20 points.
An additional 1.2 million Chileans voted on Sunday compared to the first round, bringing the turnout to nearly 56 percent, the highest since voting became mandatory in 2012.
“It’s impossible not to be impressed by the historic turnout, the cast’s willingness to acknowledge and congratulate their opponent even before the final results, and President Pinera’s generous words,” said Cynthia Arnsson, head of programs for Latin America. Wilson Center in Washington. “Chilean democracy won today, for sure.”
The 55-year-old, a devout Roman Catholic and father of nine, emerged from the far right after garnering less than 8 percent of the vote in 2017. An admirer of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, he rose sharply in the polls. This time with a divisive discourse emphasizing conservative family values and playing on Chile’s fears that an increase in migration – from Haiti and Venezuela – is driving crime.
As a legislator she has a record of attacking Chile’s LGBTQ community and advocating for more restrictive abortion laws. He also accused Pinera, a conservative partner, of having betrayed Pinochet financially. Cast’s brother, Miguel, was one of the dictator’s top advisers.
In recent days, both the candidates had tried to move towards the Centre. “I’m not an extremist. … I don’t feel quite right,” Cast declared in the final segment, even as he was stunned by the revelation that his German-born father was Adolf Hitler’s Nazi card. The carrying members were the crew.