ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Chilean Elections of 2021 and the Rise of Left Power

Politics in Latin America is in a state of fl ux, caught between the right and the left. In the presidential elections in Chile, the voting of Gabriel Boric—the youngest president in the history of the Chilean Republic (36 years old)—to power marked the end of the traditional alternation of power between the centre-right and centre-left since the return to democracy in the 1990s.

The election process that took place in Chile in December 2021 marked a new milestone for Chilean politics, given that since the implementation of the voluntary vote in 2012, it is the first time that 55.5% of the electorate actually voted. It even surpassed the plebiscite of 2020 that allowed the constituent process to be carried out, whose objective is the drafting of a new constitution, extinguishing the last legacy of the Chilean civil–military dictatorship. There are at least two clear reasons for this high turnout: first, the Chilean community demanded deep structural changes to the neo-liberal socio-economic-political system implemented during 1980 and whose discontent, due to extreme inequality, triggered the popular uprising of October 2019 (Ranjan and Castillo 2020), thereby prompting the 2020 constituent assembly election process. Second, the first-round victory of the candidate of the extreme right1 shook Chileans in such a way that forced them, to a certain extent, to go to the polls to prevent the right-wing candidate from coming to power. With more than 4.6 million votes, the current president-elect Gabriel Boric, who belongs to the pact “Apruebo Dignidad” (AD, Approve Dignity, formed by the political parties: Revolución Democrática, Convergencia Social, Comunes, Partido Comunista de Chile, Federación Regionalista Verde Social and other political forces) will take office as head of states in March.

The current president-elect played a key role, together with other representatives of the legislative assembly, in seeking a mechanism to put an end to the ins­titutional crisis of Chile since October 2019 due to social protests. This was done by the signing of the “Agreement for Social Peace and the New Constitution” (Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional 2019). It, subsequently, through a popular plebiscite, gave rise to the constitutional convention. His political participation in the signing of the Agreement for Social Peace and the New Constitution marked an internal crisis in his poli­tical party Con­vergencia Social. However, time proved him right, since the holding of a national plebiscite to change the Chilean Constitution (in force since 1980) was the optimal institutional mec­hanism to appease social discontent and the political–institutional crisis in Chile. This fact showed that Boric, through his capacity for dialogue, could reach transversal agreements with all political sectors to improve the quality of life of the Chilean people.

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Updated On : 5th Mar, 2022
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