The ballot held last December 19 gave a wide victory to the left-wing candidate Gabriel Boric, only 35 years old, who obtained 4,619,222 votes, equivalent to 55.87%, against José Antonio Kast, (55) representative of the right-wing forces who reached 3,648,987 votes or 44.13%. The result was delivered by the National Electoral Service (SERVEL), with 98.8% of the votes counted. The voter participation is the highest since the voluntary vote has existed, and it is provisionally estimated that it reached 55% of the population eligible to vote. All official figures will be available in the next few days. This election becomes historic in a way that it ends a transition which had begun in 1990, with many lights and shadows, and is linked to the Constituent Convention currently underway, which will be in charge of writing a new Constitution. This should mark the beginning of a new political cycle in Chile.
Respecting the best republican traditions of the country, the defeated candidate, José Antonio Kast, not only called Boric to recognize and congratulate him for his victory but also visited him personally at his command. The President of the Republic, Sebastián Piñera, through a videoconference call transmitted by live television, congratulated the president-elect, Gabriel Boric, and invited him to breakfast on December 20. There had been much speculation about how close the result of this election would be, however, this was not the case, as the various polls that were circulating had already shown.
Boric will assume the presidency on March 11, 2022, so these austral summer months will be dedicated to the preparation of the cabinet of ministers to accompany him in his four-year term. In a volatile global, regional and national economic scenario, the first economic signals given by the new president regarding the appointment of ministers in the economic and social areas will be very important. Many expectations have been generated, among others due to the fact that a new Constitution is being drafted these days, which will have to be approved or rejected in a plebiscite to be held in July 2022. The demands of the street and of the hardest sectors of the left will put pressure on the Frente Amplio coalition, which will govern and grouping 14 parties, the strongest of which is the Communist Party.
The great majority of the parties supporting Boric come from the student movement, and it is expected that the main core of ministers, undersecretaries, and directors that will accompany him in the difficult art of governing will emerge from there. However, the new president has already made it known that he will act with great independence, as allowed by the presidential regime, where the president is head of state and head of government at the same time. In addition, another factor that will contribute to moderation is the current composition of the Parliament, to take office with the new president on March 11, where the forces of the right and left are practically equal. So, legislation will require arduous negotiations, prudence, and moderation in order to achieve the necessary support to pass laws of deep significance that an important part of citizenship expects.
The great defeat is what was called the "new right", dressed with a garb of renovation, formed by young people who grouped in a party called Evolución Política (Evopolis) that ended up by folding to the candidate Kast. The latter created the Republican Party, after resigning from his party of unionist origin called Independent Democratic Union, considered as right-wing. With Kast, the entire right-wing was on the extreme, giving its support to a conservative candidate in terms of values, who does not believe in climate change, is opposed to sexual diversity, gay marriage, abortion, and had even thought of closing the Ministry of Women's Affairs. In the economic field, he proposed to lower taxes and maintain the whole basis of the neoliberal model that has prevented reform and progress towards a more inclusive society, with equal rights. On the other hand, the center-left, represented by the social democrat parties and the Christian Democracy, was also a loser, since its candidate came fifth in the first electoral round.
These parties immediately endorsed Boric's candidacy without asking for participation in the campaign. Some of them have indicated that they will observe a constructive opposition to the government of the new President. Over the three summer months to come, we will witness important negotiations between the forces of the left and the center-left, without which governability will not be possible. The support given by former Presidents Ricardo Lagos and Michelle Bachelet to Boric's candidacy immediately after the first round was also very important. Both have held meetings with the President-elect, who has shown maturity, temperance, and humility in recognizing mistakes and giving clear signs of governability that he will have to demonstrate in practice. The development of the Constitutional Convention and its approval in the exit plebiscite will also be at stake. Tot his purpose, the majority of the Convention members, who are from the left-wing world, will have to moderate their expectations and draft a Fundamental Charter that interprets the deep sense of the change that the people longs for, but giving guarantees to all. If we add to this the prudence expressed by Boric in relation to respecting order and providing stability to ensure economic growth based on a program presented and endorsed by recognized experts from academia and the political world, Chile has the possibility of advancing in major structural reforms without altering the solid macroeconomic foundations that have given prestige to the country.
On Sunday, Gabriel Boric spoke before hundreds of thousands of his supporters who gathered immediately in the main avenue of Santiago, after the first results that gave him as the winner was known. With only five minutes to nine o'clock at night, he addressed the country in a speech broadcast by the main television and radio networks. He was emotional, realistic, generous with his rival, José Antonio Kast, and called for unity, indicating that he would be the president of all Chileans. He touched on all the main themes of his campaign without omitting criticism of the current president, Sebastián Piñera. He spoke of the challenges that await him as governor, and Chile as a country, in order not to disappoint those who have placed their trust in him. He acknowledged and thanked SERVEL for the efficiency and transparency in the delivery of the results, his supporters, his family, and his partner, Irina Karamanos, who has been with him since 2019. He called to take care of democracy, to seek large political agreements to make the dreams of millions of Chileans come true, to respect the environment, indigenous peoples, sexual diversity, fiscal responsibility, to take care of the constituent process, and to end the private pension system known as AFP, among other tasks.
What awaits the newly elected Head of State is not easy. He has the youth, strength, and support of the new generations together with the experience of those who governed Chile for 24 years, transforming the country into a solid democracy respected worldwide. His main challenge will be to provide stability, security, growth and to make real the deep reforms with which his generation started the political struggle in the last 15 years. A gigantic task that he will be able to accomplish only if his coalition accompanies him and opens its doors to the experience accumulated over the last decades. Boric has insistently repeated that he is standing on the "shoulders of giants", so we will see how much of what he has promised will be possible to achieve.