Presidential election in Chile: historic victory for leftist candidate Gabriel Boric

Champagne bubbles burst towards the many stamped pennants “Boric president”, the Chilean and indigenous flags, and the rainbow banners of the LGBT + community. The crowd gathered in Santiago, Sunday, December 19, near the headquarters of Gabriel Boric, 35, celebrates the overwhelming victory of his candidate (nearly 56% of the vote), at the head of a vast alliance, bringing together the party Communist to center-left figures.

To the rhythm of the horns, tens of thousands of people flock in joy to celebrate this result, historic in many respects. The 15 million or so voters called to the polls – for a population of 19 million – were forced to choose between two radically opposed models for this first presidential election since the unprecedented social movement against inequalities in 2019. The ballot place at the Moneda Palace an elected representative barely reaching the minimum age required to occupy the post of Head of State. For the first time since the return to democracy in 1990, the traditional center-left and right-wing parties were excluded from the final race for supreme office.

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“New path”

“Ole, ole, the one who does not jump voted for Kast”, chant the support of Gabriel Boric in one leap, in reference to the ousted far-right candidate José Antonio Kast, a 55-year-old former deputy and lawyer. He quickly recognized his defeat. “The united people will never be defeated” (” The people united will never be defeated “) rejoices the crowd, taking up this song of social struggles, in Chile and elsewhere. “I am so happy and so relieved”, jubilee Barbara Araya, 30 ans. “Boric was the candidate for the defense of the environment, women’s rights and sexual diversity”, continues this young entrepreneur.

“What joy, what hope! We are taking a new path, which is that of more social justice, more equality ”, assures Catalina Figueroa, 32, sociologist, activist within “Democratic Revolucion”, left party integrating the alliance of Gabriel Boric. The latter promised to establish a welfare state and to make Chile ” the tomb “ of neoliberalism. If this model, set up under the dictatorship (1973-1990) has been amended, over the past thirty years, it has never been deeply questioned.

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“This very broad victory is a surprise, some polls gave the two candidates neck-to-neck and for the first time [depuis 1990], the one who came first in the first lap [José Antonio Kast avec deux points d’avance], is not elected president ”, underlines Marcela Rios, political scientist with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Chile. After a first round marked by a low turnout (47%), this second ballot is characterized by an influx of voters at its highest (over 55%), since the end of compulsory voting in 2012. “Judging by the participation in the region of Santiago, one can suppose that the youngest and the popular classes are more mobilized”, continues the political scientist.

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Presidential election in Chile: historic victory for leftist candidate Gabriel Boric