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Gabriel Boric, president of Chile
Via Twitter (@Reuters)

4 young Chileans on what Gabriel Boric’s presidential win means to them

The 35-year-old leftist and former radical student leader has been elected Chile’s youngest ever president, vowing to unite the country by tackling poverty and inequality

While the state of politics in the UK has gone well beyond a farce, it’s reassuring that elsewhere in the world, equality and decent leadership seem to be high on the agenda. Namely, in Chile, where 35-year-old leftist and former radical student leader Gabriel Boric has been elected as the country’s youngest ever president, reportedly amassing more votes than any presidential campaign in Chile’s history.

After Boric dominated the polls – he won 56 per cent of votes, beating his far-right rival, Antonio Kast – voters took to the streets in the capital of Santiago last night (December 19), flocking in their thousands to celebrate the news. The reception comes as Chile continues to recover from the bitter legacy of its 17-year dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet, a vitriolic leader whose policies have scarred the nation.

Pinochet took power of the country in a coup and ruled from 1973-1990. Under his leadership, more than 3,000 people disappeared or were murdered and tortured by the state, in a regime that Borec’s political opponent Kast has defended.

Just last year, Chile voted by a landslide majority of 78 per cent to rewrite Pinochet’s constitution, despite the return of democracy in 1990. Acknowledging the disparity between the rich and the poor since Pinochet’s rule, Boric has vowed to restore peace with humility to the people of Chile.

“We have an enormous challenge,” Boric told voters. “I know that in the coming years, the future of our country is at stake, so I guarantee that I will be a president who cares for democracy and does not risk it, listens more than speaks, seeks unity, and attends to the needs of the people daily.”

Boric has laid clear his agenda to dismantle Chile’s neoliberal economic model, which inclues promoting broader social rights, reforming Chile’s pension and healthcare systems, promoting green investment to support climate change, and reducing the working week from 45 to 40 hours.

“We know there continues to be justice for the rich, and justice for the poor, and we no longer will permit that the poor keep paying the price of Chile’s inequality,” he said.

Amid the banners and tears of celebration, scores of young people have expressed joy and awe at the election results. Here, Dazed speaks to young Boric supporters to find out just exactly what his succession means to them. 


“Boric is young and part of a new generation of politicians, like Camila Vallejo and Giorgio Jackson. He came from student protests – and he‘s from the south of Chile, where I’m from – so he feels very close to the Chileans. I voted because it is my duty as a student and a young woman. It’s our responsibility to participate in presidential elections. I’m feeling hopeful and happy, and I think Chileans finally have the president we deserve. I’m hoping he supports the constitutional convention – I know he will. The support from president Piñera and his government has been very insufficient.”


“I feel hopeful – that was the focus of the campaign, and that is how the vast majority of us feel now. It was a difficult campaign, full of false news from the other side, so knowing that, despite everything, we emerged victorious is very hopeful. Hope beats fear. We wanted someone new, someone young who understands our country and the Chileans. Until now, we’ve been used to the same people over and over again. Our families fought so hard in the 80s against Pinochet so that we can vote right now. We can’t allow fascism to have power again.”

“Our families fought so hard in the 80s against Pinochet so that we can vote right now. We can’t allow fascism to have power again” – Constanza, 26


“The victory is a relief for many people in Chile. Especially those who belong to minorities, such as the LGBTQ + community, including myself. It means the defeat of Boric’s opponent, the far-right candidate, José Antonio Kast, who openly supports the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, as well as foreign parties like Law and Justice in Poland, which suppresses the rights of minorities. I feel very cheerful about Boric’s victory. I participated in his campaign with some friends. After the triumph, we went to celebrate, and saw so many people happy and celebrating. Joy was in the air. Boric was not my first choice, and part of his sector doesn’t represent me, especially in economic matters, but I want to be optimistic.”


“Boric has the ability to listen, and the dialogue to achieve his goals and those of the citizens. This is part of what has mobilised thousands of people to join his campaign. I have always been clear about the importance of voting and asserting our opinions and options. Since I was old enough to do so, I have voted, and even being a volunteer (for my chosen political party). But this is the first time that an election will affect me directly, for better or worse. It’s the first time I feel that if the ultra-right candidate won, many social and environmental rights would be lost, and a climate of hatred would emerge. I also believe that the country needs the changes proposed by Boric and his team, and that this is an opportunity to achieve it together with the new constitution that’s being written.”