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Progressive Gabriel Boric elected president of Chile, vows unity and democracy

President-elect Gabriel Boric speaks to supporters in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday. Photo by Elvis Gonzalez/EPA-EFE
President-elect Gabriel Boric speaks to supporters in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday. Photo by Elvis Gonzalez/EPA-EFE

Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Chile has elected its youngest president in modern history -- a 35-year-old former student activist who has promised to lead a progressive charge away from decades of rule by dictator Augusto Pinochet and conservative Sebastian Pinera.

Gabriel Boric was declared the winner of the presidential runoff election on Sunday, winning about 56% of the vote over far-right lawmaker Jose Antonio Kast. He will be sworn in on March 11.

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Kast won the first round of voting last month by 2 percentage points.

Boric has vowed to unite Chile, tackle poverty and inequality and fight elitism.

"I know that the future of our country will be at stake next year," he said according to The Guardian.

"I will be a president who will take care of democracy and not jeopardize it, a president who listens more than he speaks, who seeks unity, who looks after people's daily needs, and who fights hard against the privileges of the few and who works every day for Chilean families."

Boric also pledged to fight the climate crisis and block a proposed mining project in the world's largest copper-producing nation. He also called for an end to Chile's private pension system.

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Boric will succeed Pinera, who in 2018 became the first conservative leader to be elected since the controversial Pinochet left office in 1990.

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