By Emmanuel Nduka
Chileans have elected a 35-year-old Activist, Gabriel Boric, who has now become the youngest-ever President-elect in the country’s history.
The streets of Santiago erupted in celebration on Sunday after his unexpectedly large victory.
Boric garnered nearly 56 percent of the vote, compared to 44 percent for ultra-conservative Jose Antonio Kast, who conceded even before the final result was known.
The president-elect started student activism at high school and in 2011 when he studied law at the University of Chile, where he was elected student union leader.
Thousands of Chileans have since taken to the streets of the capital and other cities after Kast’s concession, honking car horns in approval, brandishing pro-Boric placards, waving the rainbow LGBTQ flag and shouting: “Viva Chile!”
“I’m thrilled, I am crying with joy. We dealt a blow to fascism!” pharmacy worker, Jennie Enriquez, 45, told AFP.
“I am happy because there are going to be many changes that will help the people and the working class,” added construction worker Luis Astorga, 58.
Boric had campaigned on the promise of installing a “social welfare” state, increasing taxes and social spending in a country with one of the world’s largest gaps between rich and poor.
Seen as a “communist” by his detractors, Boric vowed in his first official address Sunday to “expand social rights” in Chile, but to do so with “fiscal responsibility.”
“We will do it protecting our macro-economy, we will do it well… to improve pensions and healthcare,” he said.
President Sebastian Pinera, who leaves office with a low approval rating, admitted on Sunday that the country was living in “an environment of excessive polarization, confrontation, disputes.”
Boric will be inaugurated in March next year.