The left returns to power in Chile at the hands of Boric: “Today, hope has conquered fear”

From Santiago

The most progressive left makes history in Chile after the triumph of Gabriel Boric who obtained 55.87% (4,618,480 votes) compared to 44.13% (3,648,394) of the far-right José Antonio Kast with 99.94% of the polls scrutinized. More than a 10% advantage that put an end to one of the most polarized and uncertain processes since the return to democracy in 1989 on an extremely hot day and with a notorious decrease in public locomotion that did not prevent citizens from going en masse to vote for their future.

A sum of milestones surround the new president of Chile: to their 35 years in the youngest (on March 11 when he assumes he will be 36) and the most voted in Chilean history, with an unpublished 55% electoral participation, yet another record. Furthermore, it is the first time that a sitting deputy like him has become president. And that will accompany the process of the plebiscite to ratify the New Constitution which should be done during the first semester of next year. Everything, a decade after the great student protests of 2011 where Boric, then leader of the U. de Chile, was one of the most prominent leaders.

All in the middle of a complex day, since the country was going through a heat wave reaching 34 degrees in the shade in Santiago in areas such as schools and gyms that do not have air conditioning. A problem that was minor next to lack of public locomotion. Images of parked buses (buses), despite the fact that Sebastián Piñera’s government assured that it was going to implement a special public transport plan only increased suspicions of electoral interventionism, since precisely the popular communes, where the vote is traditionally from the left, were the main affected. For this reason, despite the speed of the process, the difficult thing was to get to the polling stations, which again generated large lines.

But even before that count – and Boric’s reaction – the defeated man acknowledged on his Twitter that he had called him. “I have congratulated him on his great triumph. From today the president of Chile deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration, Chile always comes first ”. Then came President Sebastián Piñera himself, who between “advice” and “praise” told him: “It is one of the largest citizen participation in a long time. Democracy delivered and the Chileans have given a new example of democracy, you were part of that so I congratulate you ”.

Boric told him: “I want you to know that I am going to do my best to rise to this tremendous challenge, our country brings out the best of itself when we come together.” Towards the end Piñera told him: “Take a photo when you enter La Moneda and another when you leave, because governing is very difficult.” “I hope to do better than you,” he told her, in a surprising outing that failed to upset the president.

All this, while in practically all the cities of Chile, people began to celebrate, as in the Plaza de la Dignidad sector – renamed after the social outbreak of October 2019 – with Chilean and Mapuche flags and shouts like “The people won!” and “Not one step to fascism.” It is not minor: with a heat wave (with 34 degrees in the shade in Santiago), and a notorious lack of public locomotion, which the government could not fully explain, there were too many reasons to uncork champagne bottles, raise flags or simply hugging with loved ones.

Politically, this means the return of the more progressive left to power in Chile after four years of Piñera, representing a right slightly inclined to the center, but who did not hesitate to benefit the business class during the pandemic and to repress vigorously during the social outbreak. of 2019. Boric’s program advocates a new development model, focused on renewable energies, taxes on large fortunes and the promotion of science and technology; in addition to strengthening the rights of women and sexual minorities, health (including mental health), the environment and culture.

A proposal that was the opposite of Kast, a nostalgic for the dictatorship and fanatic of neoliberalism, who proposed to shrink the State, benefit big businessmen, close the Ministry of Women (a measure that he later regretted), establish ditches to prevent migration and release the military convicted of human rights violations during the dictatorship, for humanitarian reasons.

Before a huge crowd, which remembered the million people who gathered during October 2019 in Santiago, He addressed his first public speech on a stage near the National Library (a few blocks from the Plaza de la Dignidad). In fact, Boric himself could not go on stage because his car caravan could not move for long minutes, until he himself decided to walk up with his partner, the political scientist Irina Karamanos, who has already pointed out the need to redefine the “first hand” position. Finally he had to climb the fence that separated the crowd, literally like a rock star, while in the background it sounds “The right to live in peace” by Víctor Jara, the anthem of the social outbreak.

Between fireworks and applause, he began by waving in Mapudungun, thanking the Chileans who “honored their commitment to democracy.” “It doesn’t matter at this point if they (voted) for me or my opponent. The important thing is that they showed their commitment to this country that belongs to all of them. Also to those who wanted to attend to vote and could not due to the lack of public transportation. It cannot happen again that on a day as important as this, people are deprived of exercising their right to vote ”.

Boric spoke of committing himself to “this process of changes” that will extend over the next few years and thanked all the teams that joined, highlighting Dr. Izkia Siches, the spokesperson for this last stage of the campaign; but above all to women, diversities and children “who filled us with love and drawings on this trip, with beautiful drawings that expressed the innocence of the Chile they aspire to, a green and loving Chile (…) I know not we can fail them ”.

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“I am 35 years old and I know and I am clear that history does not start with us. I feel like heir and I feel that our project is heir to a long historical trajectory, that of those who from different positions have tirelessly sought justice, the expansion of democracy and the defense of human rights (…) Because we are in a new historical cycle . I will be the president of all Chileans ”.

Recognized that “The times that come will not be easy” and that it will have to face the consequences of the worst pandemic of the last century, but also of the Social Outbreak. And with regard to the latter, he energetically pointed out: “Never, for any reason should we have a president who declares war on his own people.” The latter is significant since it is in relation to an unfortunate phrase by Piñera in the midst of the Santiago riots of 2019 saying that “we were at war.” Then he repeated the chant that arose from the audience: “Justice, truth, no impunity.”

Then he referred to the movement from which it arose: “How many of you marched in 2006, 2011, 2012? We are from a generation that emerges into public life demanding that education be a right and not a consumer good ”. Too talked about ending the AFP (which makes it go back to its original program), the particular Chilean pension system that makes private individuals invest with the money that people mandatorily impose for retirement without making them participate in the profits. “We do not want them to continue doing business with our pensions “

He also spoke about defending human rights, defending the new constitution and fighting against projects that destroy the environment “No to Dominga … We cannot look to the side when the greed of a few unique ecosystems is destroyed.”

And towards the end he sealed his first speech with “” Today hope has won out over fear. Chileans have come up with a government project, which can be synthesized in advancing responsibly in the structural changes that Chile needs. Our government is going to be a government with its feet on the street ”.

A historical milestone

In addition to being the youngest president in the history of the country, at 35 years Boric achieved another milestone: it is the first time that a candidate who did not win the first round has managed to prevail in the second. But the great milestone will be to be the president who will be accompanying the process of the new constitution that should be voted in an exit plebiscite during the first semester of 2022, sealing a new cycle in the history of Chile where the ghost of Pinochet will end up being extinguished.

In any case, the new Chilean president will also have to face a post-pandemic economic moment that will translate into a global recession from which Chile must learn to face it without sacrificing the economic reformist project promoted by the candidate and before a Senate and Chamber of Deputies without majorities neither for the right nor for the left. His first measures, the makeup of the cabinet and the role of the parties are unknowns that will begin to clear in the coming months, as well as the leaderships that will emerge in the opposition.

A challenge for a left represented by the conglomerate Approve Dignity, made up of the Broad Front together with the Communist Party that, in Chile, in addition to being a democratic party, already ruled during the second government of Michelle Bachelet (2014-2018). And although at first they were critical of the role of the Concertación that governed Chile since the return to democracy in 1989, they managed to add support from figures such as Bachelet herself and former president Ricardo Lagos, as well as parties that made up that stage such as Democracy. Cristiana, the PPD, the Socialist Party and the Radical Party. An alliance that will undoubtedly modify the Chilean political map.

But Boric, a deputy since 2014, always representing his native Magellan, is skilled and capable of making risky decisions such as when he promoted the peace agreement after a month of social outbreak in 2019 that paved the way for a plebiscite for the new constitution that he achieved. be imposed a year later, with 80% approval, to replace Pinochet’s magna carta of 1980. The cost, which he assumed was to somehow “save” the Piñera government.

Although he won the first round with 27.91%, leaving Boric in second place with 25.83%, Kast traveled to the United States to meet with Republican politicians, owners of the AFPs (pension administrators) that in the particular Chilean model They invest internationally the money that citizens impose monthly for old age without them participating in the profits and incidentally, the rumor spread that the economist Franco Parisi (12.80%) met with the third majority – and surprise of the elections. who campaigned without moving from Alabama, where he settled due to an arrest warrant in Chile for non-payment of alimony.

Boric, on the other hand, redefined his speech, promoting issues such as security, migration and looking to the future, adding Izkia Siches, president of the Medical College as spokesperson, one of the most charismatic and beloved leaders during the pandemic. He also managed to avoid the provocations of the people of Kast who, both in television debates and on social networks, were lavish in fake news and rumors, ranging from photographic montages to indirectly accusing him of drug use (which Boric denied in full debate by showing a live anti-test). drugs), a strategy that had never before in Chile reached that level of political professionalism.

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