December 22, 2021 - 11:51 am

Chile's Youngest Ever President 

    Leftist former student leader, 35-year-old Gabriel Boric defeated the far-right opponent José Antonio Kast will become chile's youngest president and one of the youngest political leaders in the world when he takes office in March and only the second millennial to lead in Latin America, after El Salvador's Nayib Bukele.

    With 56% of the votes, Boric handedly defeated by more than 10 points lawmaker Kast who tried unsuccessfully to scare voters that his young, inexperienced opponent would upend chile's vaunted record as Latin America's most stable advanced economy. However, Kast readily admitted defeated and tweeted a photo of himself on the phone with Boric, congratulating him on his "grand triumph". Outgoing President Sebastian Pinera - a conservative politician and billionaire - held a video conference with Boric to offer his govt's full support during the transition.

    These elections have been one of the most polarised in chile's history and there have been several socio-political and economic factors that have contributed to i. The elections were preceded by the nationwide protests that started in 2019 as massive riots in the capital Santiago, in response to the rise in the city's subway fare, which later spread across the country and grew to include anger towards rising inequality, privatization and increasing cost of living. Boric ran a remarkable campaign. Rather than scaring potential voters into choosing him or fascism, he demonstrated why he deserved their vote. And although his slogan of hope over fear, reminiscent of Obama's was pushed at every turn, it didn't consume the concrete proposals at hand, presented plausibly.

      Chile survived the brutal 16-year military dictatorship of the US-backed right-wing Augusto Pinochet between 1973-1990, during whose regime the country witnessed suppression, violence and brutality. More than 3000 were tortured and killed and countless were declared missing during this period. During the regime, thousands of Chilean found themselves into exile. Boric was not a prominent political figure in national politics in Chile and an unexpected presidential candidate. A large percentage of Boric's supporters are the country's youth. Boric who rose to prominence leading a student protest in 2011 to demand better and more affordable education, wrote in an open letter on Saturday that his government would make the changes Chileans had demanded in the 2019 social uprisings. Those protests, which lasted months and at times turned violent, sparked a formal process to redraft Chile's decades old constitution, a text that will face a referendum next year and Boric's presidency will have to tackle responses to it that various groups across the country are certain to have.

    When Boris takes office, the widespread anger that people have about the everyday difficulties in the country, which contributed to propelling him to achieve this victory, may demand immediate action and results. Any perceived failures on his part, may lead to neo-pinochet forces further inflaming the fires caused by disappointment. He vowed to "burry" the neo-liberal economic model left by General Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship and raise taxes on the "super rich" to expand social services, fight inequality and boost protections of the environment.