Leftist Gabriel Boric wins Chile presidential electionon December 19, 2021 at 11:15 pm

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His far-right rival José Antonio Kast conceded defeat less than 90 minutes after polls closed on Sunday.

Gabriel Boric

Image source, Getty Images

Leftist candidate Gabriel Boric has won Chile’s presidential election after an early concession from his far-right rival, José Antonio Kast.

Mr Kast conceded defeat barely an hour and a half after polls closed, and with around half of ballots counted.

Early results show Mr Boric leading with 56% of the vote, and Mr Kast trailing with 45% in the run-off race.

The election has been one of the most polarised in recent decades and comes after mass anti-government protests.

At 35-years-old, Mr Boric will become one of the world’s youngest political leaders.

A former student protest leader, he has pledged radical reforms to address rampant inequality in Chile – once the most stable economy in Latin America.

His rival, meanwhile, stood on a platform of law and order, pledging cuts to tax and social spending, and defending the legacy of former military dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

José Antonio Kast

Image source, Getty Images

In a tweet, Mr Kast said he had called Mr Boric to congratulate him on his “great triumph”.

“From today he is the elected President of Chile and deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration,” he added.

Both men are outsiders representing political parties that have never been in government.

The country is going through huge changes after voting overwhelmingly last year to re-write Chile’s Pinochet-era constitution.

Chile’s outgoing President Sebastián Piñera said on Sunday that the country was living in “an environment of excessive polarization, confrontation [and] disputes,” and urged his successor to “be the president of all Chileans.”

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