Chile Chooses Young Socialist as President in Historic Election

By Autumn Spredemann
Autumn Spredemann
Autumn Spredemann
Autumn is a South America-based reporter covering primarily Latin American issues for The Epoch Times.
December 20, 2021 Updated: January 4, 2022

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia—On Dec. 19, 35-year-old socialist Gabriel Boric became the youngest president in Chile’s history after defeating right-wing candidate Jose Antonio Kast.

Boric won with 55.87 percent of the votes in a run-off election after the Nov. 21 general poll.

The Santiago stock exchange plummeted more than six points after Boric was announced the winner, while the US dollar hit a historic maximum in exchange at 872.61 pesos.

It was a tight election race between Kast and Boric and was also the nation’s most polarized since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship back in 1990.

Boric, a former student union leader who got his start in politics during the 2011 civil protests, studied law at the University of Chile but never finished, which has been heavily criticized by his contenders.

The millennial president is one of only seven to enter the presidential palace of La Moneda without completing a university education.

Kast conceded defeat on Dec. 19 and congratulated Boric in a public statement.

“I have congratulated him [Boric] on his great triumph. From today he is the elected president of Chile and deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration. Chile is always first.”

After his victory in the July primaries, Boric quoted famous socialist president Salvador Allende, who killed himself on Sept. 11, 1973, during a military coup d’etat.

“The great avenues through which free men and women pass will be opened to build a better society.”

In the July primaries, Boric became the presidential candidate for the Broad Front and Chile Digno Pact parties, which is part of the Chilean Communist Party collective, which led to accusations that he was “controlled by communists” from his opponents.

However, Boric has also criticized the center-left governments of Chile and was quick to denounce the regimes of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, gaining him critical middle ground support leading up to the election.

Among his campaign promises are considerable reforms to taxes, healthcare, the national pension, and education.

Though despite Boric’s ambitions, some Chileans aren’t convinced he’s qualified to lead.

Aside from his lack of completed university education, Boric has never held a job outside of politics.

Others have questioned his recreational choices, including potential substance abuse after Boric refused to take a drug test back in November, claiming the cost of the hair-follicle test was “too expensive.”

Political opponent Kast offered to pay for the test, but Boric still refused and became flustered during an interview when questioned by journalists.

In his victory speech delivered from Santiago, Boric said, “I will be the president of all Chileans. Of those who today voted for this project, of whom today fill the squares of all Chile, and of those who did not turn out to vote. We will be there for all of you. ”

He also assured people that he intended to uphold Chile’s democratic values “every day of this government.”

Correction: Allende’s death was determined to be a suicide, not a murder. The Epoch Times regrets the error.

Autumn Spredemann
Autumn is a South America-based reporter covering primarily Latin American issues for The Epoch Times.