Gabriel Boric, a left-leaning 35-year-old, won Chile’s presidential election Sunday with 56% of the votes.
He gave a victory speech in the indigenous Mapuche language to a crowd of young supporters, the Associated Press reported Monday. Boric’s opponent, lawmaker José Antonio Kast, conceded publicly after portraying his opponent as inexperienced and a potential puppet of the country’s communist party, according to the AP.
Kast, a Catholic father of nine, opposed abortion and same-sex marriage and favored free markets, the AP reported. He stoked concerns that Boric could lead Chile — one of South America’s most advanced economies — down the path of Venezuela. “People flee from there because dictatorship, narco-dictatorship, only brings poverty and misery,” he said, according to The New York Times.
“When he speaks about hope, he’s speaking about the long-term future, a movement that started brewing many years ago and exploded in 2019,” recent high school graduate Antonia Vera told the NYT.
Boric gained fame during antigovernment protests in 2019, and plans to pursue a left-wing agenda including tackling climate change, taxing the wealthy and corporations, blocking a major mining project, ending country’s private pension system and fighting gender inequality, AP reported. He aims to instate European style social democracy in an effort to achieve his proposed policies.
Chile’s congress is evenly divided, which could prevent Boric from enacting sweeping changes while in office, according to the NYT.
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