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Chile President: Gabriel Borek wins the runoff

Chile President: Gabriel Borek wins the runoff

JApril Borek will take over the Chilean presidency in March. With nearly 56 percent of the valid vote, the former MP and former student leader from the left-wing “Broad Front” coalition in Sunday’s run-off was more pronounced than recent polls indicated. Even before the end result was clear, losing right-wing candidate Jose Antonio Cast called Borek and conveyed his congratulations. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of supporters of the 35-year-old candidate gathered to celebrate in the streets of the capital, Santiago, and in other cities.

With Gabriel Borek, who will go down in history as the continent’s youngest president to date, a new generation comes to power in Chile. Ten years ago, he was at the forefront of massive student protests calling for equitable access to universities and a privatized education system. Borek was then elected to Congress, along with other leaders of the movement. Meanwhile, his unruly hair had given way to parting, his beard had been neatly trimmed, and the tattoo had disappeared from under his shirt. To read, Borek wears horn-rimmed glasses somewhat resembling former Socialist President Salvador Allende.

More welfare state

The comparison is also necessary from a political point of view. Since Allende, no Chilean president has been as clearly leftist as Borek. After the end of the military dictatorship, Chile was ruled by moderate forces from left and right for more than 30 years. The constitution has been retained since the time of Chile’s dictatorship and liberal economic model, which many economists consider the basis of the country’s wealth and economic stability. Borek represents a new left that reflects the departure of many Chileans from the traditional political class. The protest movement that emerged at the end of 2019 embodies the “social explosion” calling for a more prosperous state and social justice, the pressure of which led to the election of a constitutional conference introducing a new constitution in the country. Next year.

Gabriel Borek's supporters celebrate the electoral victory in the capital, Santiago.

Gabriel Borek’s supporters celebrate the electoral victory in the capital, Santiago.

Photo: AFP / Javier Torres

Borek’s choice will not only represent a generational change, but will also be associated with drastic economic changes. His campaign made the demands of the protest movement his own: more state and welfare state, a better health and education system, better local public transportation, higher pensions, and more. Because despite its wealth, Chile is characterized by high inequality. More than half of Chileans do not have a living.

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