Who Is Gabriel Boric? Chile's 35-year-old Left-Wing New President

Gabriel Boric, 35, a left-wing legislator who made his name as an activist during anti-government protests in Chile, is set to become country's youngest ever president, after declaring a landslide victory in the national election.

Following a polarized election that pitted two candidates on the opposite sides of the political spectrum against each other, Boric won 56 percent of the votes on Sunday, running against his conservative opponent Jose Antonio Kast.

Kast conceded only 90 minutes after polls closed, and half of the ballots were counted, according to the BBC.

Although his critics said he was too young and inexperienced to be leading the country, Boric will be cast in as president on March 11 2022, after amassing more votes than any other presidential candidate in history.

"I am going to be the president of all Chileans," Boric said in the brief televised appearance with outgoing President Sebastian Pinera. "I am going to do my best to get on top of this tremendous challenge."

The millennial president-elect said he would protect democracy and has promised curbs on Chile's neoliberal economic model, which was brought under former Chilean president and dictator General Augusto Pinochet during his rule between 1973 and 1990.

While Kast is a far-right supporter of Pinochet, Boric seems intent on dismantling the former president's neoliberal legacy.

Boric has also pledged to tax the rich, implement a welfare state and increase public spending, as well start an inclusion of women and non-binary Chileans and indigenous peoples.

Boric was born in Chile's far south in the city of Punta Arenas, in the Patagonian Mountains, in 1986. In the final year of his law degree in 2011, Boric led the Federation of Students at the University of Chile in Santiago.

He became one of the leading figures in the 2011 to 2013 protests, which saw thousands of students march to demand education reforms and decried the huge national economic inequality. As a result of his involvement in activism and politics, Boric never ended up completing his law degree.

In 2013, running as an independent candidate, Boric was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, representing the Magallanes and Antarctic district. Four years later, he was re-elected running as part of the Broad Front, a left-wing coalition he created with several other parties.

In 2016, he founded his own party, called the Autonomist Movement.

During the civil unrest in the Latin American country in 2019, which stemmed from high living costs and inequality, Boric was one of the key politicians negotiating the agreement that led to a referendum to change the Constitution.

He quickly became one of the figureheads of the socialist movement, as the former Constitution was inherited from the bloody dictatorship of Pinochet. Chileans in 2020 overwhelmingly voted to change the constitution and draft a new one, which is expected to be voted on in mid-2022.

A far cry from his predecessor's formal and pragmatic style, Boric is seen by many as an emotional leader, who is not afraid to open up about his own mental health. He has publicly said that he suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and previously spent two weeks in psychiatric hospital.

The election win in Chile on Sunday also makes Boric the second youngest state leader in the world, behind 27-year-old Captain Regent of San Marino Giacomo Simoncini and younger than Finland's 36-year-old Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

Boric's leadership campaign was closely watched by Croatian media, given his surname is Croatian and his family emigrated to Chile from the Croatian island of Ugljan in 1897, according to Balkan Insight.

Boric faces a significant challenge ahead of him over the next four years of his premiership, as he attempts to lead a country rocked by mass protests and political division.

Chilean President-elect Gabriel Boric
Chilean president-elect Gabriel Boric gestures after addressing supporters following the official results of the runoff presidential election, in Santiago, on December 19, 2021. Boric, 35, a left-wing legislator who made his name as an activist during anti-government protests in Chile, is set to become country’s youngest ever president. Martin Bernetti