Boric promised his supporters that he would protect democracy and curb Chile’s neoliberal economic system.
He will be leading a country that was rocked by protests against corruption and inequality in recent years.
Celebrations erupted in Santiago following Mr Boric’s victory. His supporters waved flags and honked car horns.
Boric stated that he would take on the job with humility, a “tremendous feeling of responsibility”, and vows to “firmly resist the privileges enjoyed by a few”.
“We face a huge challenge. “I know that the future of this country will be at stake in the next years. Therefore, I promise that I will be a president who cares about democracy and doesn’t risk it, listens more that speaks, seeks unity and attends daily to the needs and wants of the people,” he said to supporters.
Official results showed that Mr Boric received 56% of votes, compared to Mr Kast’s 44%. After polls closed for an hour and a half, Mr Kast conceded defeat with only about half the ballots having been counted.
Both candidates had starkly different visions of the country and they both represent outsiders who have never been in government.
Chile, once the most stable country in Latin America, has one of the largest income gaps in the world. According to the United Nations, 1% of Chile’s population controls 25% of the country’s wealth.
Boric promised to reduce inequality by expanding social rights, reforming Chile’s healthcare and pension systems, as well reducing work hours from 45 to 40 hours and encouraging green investment.
He stated that “We know that there is justice for the wealthy and justice for those who are poor” and that he would not allow the poor to continue paying the price for Chile’s inequalities.
He also pledged to stop a controversial mining project that he claimed would harm communities and the environment.
Gabriel Boric’s speech was a message of inclusion. He stressed that everyone would be a part of his government. He said that he would be president for everyone, even those who did not vote for him. Although he knows Congress is divided and has his political enemies, he welcomes the opportunity for dialogue.
The vote was deeply divided, with Chileans having to choose between a man who praises the dictatorship of their country and a protest leader who, according to his opponents, would bring chaos and instability.
Chileans chose a new era in the end. And a new type of president.
This result was for many a natural outcome of the last few years. In 2019, protests rose with an increase in transport costs. A year later, Chileans voted in favor of ripping up the dictatorship-era constitution and writing a newer, more inclusive constitution.
All of this has led to a new leader. Gabriel Boric will have to unify the millions of Chileans who voted against the other side.
“I have a lot faith and hope”
The victory was celebrated by the supporters with uncontained joy.
Andres Rodriques stated that he was excited about the achievement because it is a people’s accomplishment. “There has been a lot of abuse over the years and we need to renovate politics. I believe in the youth and have great faith in them.
Patricia Alarcon stated that she was very happy. She said, “I have always believed in Boric because we deserved this – we deserved freedom and integration – this was what I wanted.”
Boric, a former student protest leader supported the mass demonstrations against inequality in Chile and alleged corruption which rocked Chile in 2019 & 2020.
While his rival stood on a platform for law and order, pledging tax and social spending cuts, Kast did not. He also supported the legacy of Gen Pinochet who ruled the country between 1973 and 1990. More than 3,000 people disappeared or were killed under his leadership.
In a tweet, Mr Kast stated that he called Mr Boric to thank him for his “great victory”. He added: “From today, he is the elected President Chile and deserves all of our respect and constructive cooperation.”
After the Chilean Pinochet-era Constitution was overwhelmingly rewritten last year, the country is experiencing major changes.
Sebastian Pinera, the outgoing President of Chile, stated that Chile is living in “an environment excessively polarisation and confrontation [and] disputes” and asked his successor to be “the president of all Chileans.”