The young leftist deputy will assume the presidency on March 11, at the age of 36. Never before have Chileans been governed by an executive authority of that age.

His victory went against the predictions of some pollsters. The candidate of Apruebo Dignidad, the coalition formed by leftist groups that emerged during the last decade and the Communist Party, took 11 points ahead of José Antonio Kast. The 55.86% of the votes called for a party. As if reliving the most passionate days of the social outburst of November 2019, thousands and thousands of people chanted the name of the winner.

Boric promised to “advance with responsibility in structural changes” and expand “social rights with social responsibility”. The Chile he envisions, he repeated, is green, defender of the environment and diversity, cultural, ethnic, sexual and religious. “I will be a president who will listen more than he will talk. I will govern with my feet on the street, decisions will be made in conjunction with the people”.

Electoral participation

The reason for the resounding triumph is twofold: on the one hand, almost 55% of Chileans able to vote went to the polls. The specter of the ultra-right brought out of their homes eight percent more of the electoral roll, in relation to the first round.

His message managed to convince thousands of citizens, especially after the last TV debate with his contender. The wide difference in his favor will give the winner of the ballotage enough air to face a presidency not exempt of complexities. Another factor has been decisive. The votes of Franco Parisi, who had come third in the November elections, did not go to Kast, in spite of their programmatic affinities.

But Boric knows that he must also honor his own government program, and that is what he was asked to do during the celebration ceremony on Sunday night. That is why he recalled that “the reasons for the social outburst are still valid”, as well as the demands for justice and dignity and for a pension system managed by the State. “Respect for human rights is always and everywhere a commitment that cannot be given up. Never again a president who declares war on his people,” he said in allusion to Sebastián Piñera, who when the protests began, two years ago, opted first for the repressive solution. “Justice, truth, no to impunity,” he chanted with those present.

Hours before the celebrations, Piñera had congratulated the hero of election day. The magnate asked him for “moderation” and reminded him that “governing is not easy”. Piñera himself knows this after his second and eventful mandate: he had to go through a social outbreak and administer a country in the midst of a pandemic. “We take care of what together, so much effort has cost us”. The head of state put himself at the service of his successor and invited him to a working meeting tomorrow at La Moneda palace. Even Kast preferred to show himself in the night of Santiago as a contender with an outstretched hand. The lawyer went to Boric’s campaign command to greet him personally.

The role of the former Concertación

Boric assured that the next government will belong to “all” Chileans. The challenges are enormous. The GDP will grow almost 12% in 2021. According to Piñera, employment is close to recovering pre-pandemic levels. By 2022, an economic improvement of no more than two points is expected. Boric inherits, like other countries in the region, a resurgence of inflation. The year ends with a 6.5% increase in the cost of living. The greatest complexity that the winner of the elections will face is related to the parity of forces in Congress. Boric considered that this balance should be seen as an “invitation to dialogue” and an “opportunity to meet again”.

The challenge of the Constituent Assembly

At the same time as the presidential second round, and as if it were part of a parallel and, at times, strange reality, Chile is the scene of a National Constituent Assembly. The demand for a new Magna Carta was wrested in the streets from the Government and the right-wing parties, which do not have the right to veto in the Convention because they had a terrible result in the election of delegates. The Assembly, presided over by a leader of Mapuche origin, Elisa Loncón, is preparing to draft a text of a markedly progressive nature which intends to bury the one inherited from the last dictatorship, in force since 1980, in spite of having had several amendments. When the victory of Gabriel Boric became known, the Assembly immediately greeted the next president. “We count on your support to bring this process to a successful conclusion. As a convention we reaffirm our commitment to respect the institutionality and independence of the powers of the State, in order to fulfill our mission: to draft the Constitution that unites Chile”.

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