Mar 11, 2022 - World

Chile inaugurates its youngest president ever

New Chile president, wearing a dark blue suit and a sash, waves at his inauguration
New President of Chile Gabriel Boric (L) waves next to Outgoing President Sebastián Piñera during the presidential inauguration ceremony at the Congress on March 11 in Chile. Photo: Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images

Chile’s new leftist president, whose promises of a renewed, social justice-focused nation inspired a historic voter turnout, is now in office.

What to know: Gabriel Boric, who just turned 36, is the youngest president in Chile’s history. His cabinet is majority female.

  • It includes Defense Minister Maya Fernández, the niece of Salvador Allende, the ex-president who was overthrown in a 1973 military coup. Fernández will be in charge of the armed forces.
  • Boric, a former student leader, also brought on colleagues from the protest movement that shook up the country’s higher education system 10 years ago.
  • Among them are communications director Camila Vallejo and Izkia Siches, a surgeon who helped conceive a successful response to COVID-19. Siches will be the first female minister of Interior and Public Security.

Between the lines: Boric has promised to remake Chile, moving it from a neoliberalist model to one centering on “social justice.”

  • Proposals include offering subsidies for families that can’t afford home internet, taxing the rich, ensuring access to birth control and creating a truth commission on human rights violations from the last dictatorship (1973-1990).
  • He’s also vowed to give reparations to people who were gravely injured in 2019’s mass protests against low wages and high living costs.
  • A major part of Boric’s agenda is also making Chile’s highly unequal economy more green, pushing measures like banning new coal plants and more regulations for extraction of copper and lithium.

What’s next: Boric’s plans will hinge on congressional support, which is still uncertain.

  • This Friday, the new legislature will choose its leadership and committee designations.
  • A new constitution being written by an elected convention might help Boric along. The new text will be voted on this summer.

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