Chile breathes sigh of relief as pro-LGBT+ president elected over far-right bigot

Gabriel Boric after winning Chile election

Gabriel Boric has won the Chile election, seeing off far-right anti-LGBT+ rival José Antonio Kast.

At just 35 years old, Gabriel Boric was elected Chile’s youngest-ever president on Sunday (19 December).

His far-right rival, Kast, conceded with 97 per cent of the vote counted, Boric having gained a 12 point lead with 55.8 per cent of the tallied votes.

The left-wing former student leader won the presidency after a fraught election which the LGBT+ community feared could turn the clock back on equality.

Same-sex marriage was finally legalised in Chile this month, and while Boric is committed to improving reproductive and LGBT+ rights as well as gender equality, Kast had decried the “gay lobby” and is viciously opposed to marriage equality and abortion.

Sunday’s (19 December) run-off came after an initial round of voting on 21 November saw Kast receiving 28 per cent of the vote and Boric receiving 26, with neither earning the 50 per cent required to win.

According to The Guardian, Gabriel Boric told a crowd of revellers after his win: “We are a generation that emerged in public life demanding our rights be respected as rights and not treated like consumer goods or a business.

“We no longer will permit that the poor keep paying the price of Chile’s inequality… The times ahead will not be easy.

“Only with social cohesion, re-finding ourselves and sharing common ground will we be able to advance towards truly sustainable development – which reaches every Chilean.”

Boric has vowed to transform Chile through higher taxes, increased public spending, and the dismantling of controversial private pension schemes. He is also determined to block mining initiatives that risk “destroying” the environment, and wants to empower women, indigenous communities, young people and other marginalised groups.

He will be sworn in on 11 March, 2022.

Chile’s outgoing president signed same-sex marriage into law on his way out

With just four months left of his presidency, Chile’s current leader signed same-sex marriage into law as one of his final acts.

President Sebastián Piñera signed the marriage equality bill into law on 9 December, after it was approved by congress.

The bill had been stuck in congress for four years, despite same-sex civil unions having been legalised in Chile in 2015, but earlier this year Piñera expedited it.

According to Reuters, Piñera said at the time: “All couples who so wish, regardless of their sexual orientation, will be able to live love, marry and form a family with all the dignity and legal protection they need and deserve.”