35-year-old emerges new Chile president

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A 35-year-old leftist, Gabriel Boric, who emerged winner after Sunday’s runoff election will become Chile’s next president in March, 2022.

With this victory, Mr Boric will become Chile’s youngest modern president, and only the second millennial to lead in Latin America, after El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele. Only one other head of state, Giacomo Simoncini, 27, of the city-state San Marino in Europe, is younger.

With over 99 per cent of ballots counted, Mr Boric, 35, who leads a broad leftist coalition, had 55.86 per cent of the votes compared with 44.14 per cent for far-right rival Jose Kast, who conceded defeat.

“I just spoke to @gabrielboric and congratulated him on his great success,” Mr Kast said on Twitter. “From today he is the elected President of Chile and he deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration. Chile is always first.”

The election was the nation’s most divisive in decades, with the two candidates offering starkly different visions of the future. Mr Kast, 55, ran a law-and-order campaign and was a defender of former dictator Augusto Pinochet, Reuters reported.

Both candidates were from outside the centrist political mainstream that has ruled Chile since the return to democracy in 1990 after Mr Pinochet’s military dictatorship. Both moderated their positions in recent weeks to win over centrist voters.

Describing Mr Boric, The Guardian wrote, “Boric is the driving force behind Chile’s abrupt changing of the guard. He belongs to a radical generation of student leaders who are grimly determined to bury dictator Augusto Pinochet’s bitter legacy once and for all.”

In 2011, as a final year law student at the University of Chile, he became a student leader, leading an education protest across the country.

In 2013, he was elected to Congress as an independent, representing his Magallanes region, and was later re-elected to a second term with a landslide victory.

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