Former student activist Gabriel Boric was elected president of Chile on Sunday (December 20). At 35 years old, Boric will become the youngest president in the history of the South American country.
Along with becoming the youngest to hold the highest office, Boric will become the country’s most liberal president since socialist President Salvador Allende served Chile from 1970-1973. Allende was overthrown by a coup that saw dictator General Augusto Pinochet take control of the government.
“I am going to give the best of me to rise to this tremendous challenge,” Boric said during a call with the outgoing president, Sebastián Piñera. “I will be the president of all Chileans.”
During his campaign, Boric pledged to make an impact on issues like Indigenous rights, gender equality, canceling student loans, and environmental protections. He also promised to raise taxes on wealthy Chileans and use that money to provide citizens with better allowances and an economy that focused on reducing environmental risks.
Far-right candidate José Antonio Kast conceded the race and tweeted that “from now on, [Boric] is the president-elect of Chile and deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration.”
Boric’s supporters filled the streets Sunday night after the race was called. During a speech in Santiago, Boric told the crowd that he hoped to unite the nation after a fought race. “Today, hope trumped fear,” he said.
As president, Boric looks to shape Chile’s Constitution, which citizens voted last year to rewrite. Protests in late 2019 over the cost of living and inequality were some of the root causes that Chileans demanded a new structure to their government.
“It’s a very clear mandate from Chilean voters,” University of Chile professor and political analyst Robert Funk told CNN. “His party, his message, really shows the desire… for change for a more modern Chile.”