Article Image

IPFS News Link • Chile

Peso Hits Record Lows As Leftist Boric Wins Chile Presidency In...

•, by Tyler Durden

Leftist Gabriel Boric, a former student protest leader, won the final round of Chile's presidential election by a wide margin as the copper-rich Latin American country took a decisive shift to the left after several years of civil unrest. Boric secured 56% of the vote in Sunday's runoff, well ahead of José Antonio Kast, his ultra-conservative rival, on 44%.  The victory, Bloomberg notes, is likely to spook markets that fear interventionist policies. Boric, 35, will take office in March as one of the youngest presidents in the world and with an ambitious agenda.

"I am going to be the president of all Chileans, whether you voted for me or not," said Boric. The 35-year-old president-elect, who will take office on March 11, said he would strive for unity after a bitter contest between extremes of the political spectrum.

Boric, who is unmarried, bearded and tattooed, first gained prominence a decade ago when he led nationwide demonstrations calling for free and high-quality education. He ran successfully for lower house deputy in 2013 and was re-elected to a second term in a landslide vote. He is the first leader to come from outside the centrist political mainstream that has largely ruled Chile since its return to democracy in 1990. He is also the youngest Chilean president in more than two centuries and the first to secure a second-round victory after losing the first round.

His win in a runoff paves the way not only for a generational shift but also for the biggest economic changes in decades for one of Latin America's richest countries, a global financial market favorite. It was a highly polarized campaign that only moderated in the final stretch as both contenders wooed centrists. He will face enormous challenges including a divided congress, sharp economic slowdown, the writing of a new constitution and the lingering threat of social unrest.

"We cannot continue to allow the poor to pay for the inequalities of Chile," Boric told thousands of cheering supporters in a fiery victory speech which also acknowledged all he needs to do to build alliances. "We will reach out and build bridges so our citizens can live a better life."