SANTIAGO, Chile – The left-wing Millennium, which gained prominence during anti-government protests, was elected Sunday’s next president after a fierce campaign against a free market fire compared to Donald Trump.
With 90% of the polls reported, Gabriel Boric received 56% of the vote, while his opponent Jose Antonio Cast received 44%.
As Borik’s supporters gathered in Santiago to celebrate, Cast tweeted a photo taken on the phone with his opponent congratulating him on his “massive victory.” Incumbent President Sebastian Pinera congratulated him on a video conference call with Boric.
“I’m going to be president for all Chileans,” Boric said in a brief televised appearance with Pinara.
Boric, 35, was Chile’s youngest modern president when he took office in March. He was one of many activists elected to Congress in 2014 after leading the struggle for higher education. He vowed to “bury” the neoliberal economic model left by the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973-1990, expand social services, combat inequality, and raise taxes on the “super rich” to increase environmental protection.
Cast, who has a history of defending Chile’s past military dictatorship, advanced two points by two points in the first round of voting last month, but failed to get a majority. It set up a head-on run against the war.
By expanding beyond his base in the capital, Santiago, Borick was able to turn the tide of bigger differences than pre-election polls by attracting rural voters who were not in favor of political extremism. For example, in the north of Antofagasta, he finished third in the first round of voting, beating Cost by almost 20 points.
Cast, 55, a devout Roman Catholic and father of nine children, emerged from the far-right margin after receiving less than 8% of the vote in 2017. He rose steadily in the polls this time around with a divisive rhetoric emphasizing and playing on conservative family values. Chile fears increase migration from Haiti and Venezuela – triggers crime.
A longtime lawmaker, he has hit the Chilean LGBTQ community and is credited with supporting more abortive abortion laws. He also accused outgoing President Sebastian Pinera, a fellow conservative, of betraying the economic legacy of the country’s former military chief, General Augusto Pinochet. Castin’s brother, Miguel, was one of Pinochet’s key advisers.
In recent days, both candidates have been trying to move towards the center.
“I am not a terrorist. … I do not feel right, “Cast declared in the final, a card-carrying member of his German-born father, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.
Borik, backed by a coalition of left-wing parties, including the Communist Party of Chile, brought in more centralist advisers to his team and promised that any change would be gradual and financially responsible.
“On both sides, people vote in fear,” said Robert Funk, a political scientist at the University of Chile, before the vote. “Neither party is particularly interested in their candidate, but they fear that if Cast wins, there will be an authoritarian backlash or that Borik will be too young, inexperienced and allied with the Communists.”
The victory of the war may be diminished by a divided Congress.
In addition, as the newly elected conference rewrites the country’s Pinochet-era constitution, political rules may change soon. The convention – the country’s most powerful elected body – could theoretically call for a new presidential election if the new constitution is approved by ballot when it completes its mission next year.
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