The leftist deputy Gabriel Boric knows what it means to hold management positions from the age of 6, and at 35 he adds one more: the elected president of Chile.

He has made great strides through life: at the age of six he was president of the first grade, after the third, at the university he led the students of the law school, in 2012 he headed the then powerful Federation of Students of the University of Chile and in 2014 he began the first of two terms as a deputy. Now he conquered the presidential chair.

With 99.76% of the votes counted, he accumulates 55.9%, compared to 44.1 for his rival, the far-right José Antonio Kast.

For years he was known for his long hair and thick beard and in 2017 he surprised some when he shaved both sides of his head and left a Mohawk-style fringe.

Last July, for the presidential primaries in his sector, in which the communist candidate Daniel Jadue was widely imposed, he cut his hair, fixed his beard, changed his informal dress for one closer to the traditional, although very youthful, and began to show himself with a pair of elegant glasses.

Now he is far from the Boric who was sworn in for the first time as a deputy in 2014, when he appeared without a tie and wearing a gabardine jacket. Before the complaints of a conservative parliamentarian, he responded that “it is a mechanism of the elite to move away and differentiate itself from the lower town.”

He added that “I don’t care how they judge me for my looks.” He dressed more formally at the beginning of his second term, in 2018.

On Sunday, when congratulated by the outgoing president Sebastián Piñera in a video call, he wore a light shirt, a dark jacket and was without a tie.

He ran for president through Approve Dignity, a pact between the leftist Frente Amplio, (FA), and the Communist Party, and defeated Kast, a staunch defender of the dictatorship.

Less than a week before the presidential runoff, Boric’s parents received The Associated Press at their residence in Punta Arenas, 3,500 kilometers south of Santiago, and showed childhood memories of the candidate, including a letter seeking the vote of his peers to lead his class at age 8.

In the letter to his classmates asking for their vote, he reminded them that two years before he had already held the same position. “I came out as president in first grade, but at that time I did not know what it was to be president, that’s why I was a bad president,” the page reads. “Now I am prepared and I promise to be a good president.” He was elected.

His mother, María Soledad Font, told the AP that she “never” heard her son say that he wanted to be president of the country, and recalled that Boric’s maternal grandmother – an astrology fan – predicted “early” that her grandson would be mandatory, after reading the lines of the hands.

On a television show earlier this month, she showed his romantic side. His girlfriend of three years, political scientist Irina Karamanos, 32, was in the audience and was briefly interviewed by the host about her eventual position as first lady.

He responded that, “I would think that it is a position that deserves to be rethought. We are in different times”. Boric recited the poem “El Doliente”, by Óscar Hahn, and said that in private, “we call ourselves ‘chofa and chofo’ of artichoke, we like artichokes a lot”.

The son of a Croatian descendant and a mother of Spanish descent, Boric was born in Punta Arenas, and in the Chamber of Deputies he represented the Magallanes region to which Punta Arenas belongs, and Antarctica, which influences the importance that his program gives to the decentralization of Chile.

After secondary education, he traveled to the Chilean capital to study law and at the university he demanded free and quality education, which at times kept the first government of the center-right president Sebastián Piñera, who will succeed him, by the ropes. He graduated in 2012, although he did not graduate.

In politics, like everyone else, he has experienced criticism and rejection. In November 2019, he experienced harsh criticism from the Broad Front and the Communist Party – the coalition that championed him for the presidency – because he individually signed a cross-sectional constitutional agreement that led to the convening of a plebiscite that led in 2021 to the installation of a Constitutional Convention that drafts a draft Magna Carta to replace the one imposed by the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, which must be endorsed in a plebiscite in 2022.

His alliance proposes tax increases to improve education and health, improve the minimum wage, create 500,000 female jobs, a universal pension for the elderly, the defense of the rights of the LGBTIQ + community and ethnic minorities and end the private ones. Pension Fund Administrators, criticized across the board for the low pensions it provides.

Throughout the electoral campaign, his adversary Kast criticized Boric on multiple occasions for his meeting in France in 2018 with Ricardo Palma Salamanca, a militant of the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front, who fought the military dictatorship by arms and in 1996 fled from a Chilean prison, where he was serving a sentence for the 1991 murder of conservative senator Jaime Guzmán.

Kast also refloated a video that shows Boric smilingly receiving a shirt that shows Guzmán’s face with a bullet in the forehead. “When I was wrong, I am able to reflect on my mistakes and ask for forgiveness,” said the leftist candidate.

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