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After Leading Student Protests. Gabriel Boric Become Chile’s Youngest-Ever President

INTERNATIONAL: Chilean leftist, former protest leader, Gabriel Boric won the country's presidential runoff election on Sunday, capping a major revival for the country's progressive left that has been on the rise since widespread protests that roiled the Andean country in 2019.

With over 99% of ballots counted, 35-year old Gabriel Boric, who leads a broad leftist coalition, had up to 56% of the vote, compared with 44% for the far-right rival Jose Antonio Kast, who conceded defeat.

Ten years after leading student protests demanding better education, Gabriel Boric set to become Chile's youngest-ever president on Sunday, capping a remarkable rise for the Andean nation's progressive left.The former law student has pledged to bury Chile's "neoliberal" economic model with the defeat of far-right rival Jose Antonio Kast.

Boric, who will take office in March, has tapped into public anger at Chile's market-oriented economic model, widely considered to have helped drive decades of rapid economic growth but stoking inequality.That imbalance has sparked widespread angry social uprisings in 2019, lighting the fuse for the political rise of the progressive left and the redrafting of the country's dictatorship-era constitution.

During a speech after his electoral victory, Boric said his government will expand social rights but will do so with fiscal responsibility and taking care of the economy in the world's top copper producing nation. He has said that he will do his best with the trust people have placed in him. He promised that he will not forget justice, truth and respect.

A native of Punta Arenas, in Chile's far south, Boric as a student led the Federation of Students at the University of Chile in Santiago. He rose to prominence leading protests in 2011 demanding improved and cheaper education.

By 2014, still in his 20s, he had joined the national Congress as a lower-house lawmaker, representing Chile's vast and sparsely populated southernmost region of Magallanes. Although a known face of the left in Chile, Boric was initially a dark-horse candidate for the presidency.He just reached the threshold of 35,000 signatures needed to be a candidate. But then he beat out the popular Santiago-region mayor, Daniel Jadue, of the Communist Party, to lead the leftist alliance.

Boric has since looked to distance himself from some of the more extreme views of far-left groups in his alliance, including support from the Communist Party for the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.

PHOTO: CHILEAN PRESIDENT-ELECT GABRIEL BORIC ADDRESSING HIS SUPPORTERS / TWO SOUNDBITES FROM BORIC / BORIC SUPPORTERS CELEBRATING 


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