1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Chile swears in former student leader as youngest president

March 12, 2022

Gabriel Boric became the youngest president to be sworn in, promising to make Chile "a dignified and just country." He has appointed a young cabinet with more women than men. 

 Chile's new President Gabriel Boric and his girlfriend Irina Karamanos greet their supporters after a speech at La Moneda Palace in Santiago, on March 11, 2022.
Boric has vowed that his government will attack poverty and inequalityImage: Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

Former student union leader Gabriel Boric was sworn in as Chile's youngest president on Friday.

It comes after he won 56% of the vote in a December runoff against conservative Jose Antonio Kast. 

The leftist tweeted, "People of Chile, women, girls, boys and men: our commitment is with you, you are protagonists of this path that begins today.” 

Speaking from the balcony of his presidential residence, he said, "The road will undoubtedly be long and difficult. We come to give ourselves body and soul to making life better in our country." He called for unity to make Chile "a dignified and just country." 

What are the challenges he faces 

Boric pledged to improve the economy and tackle issues of immigration, protection of indigenous rights, and climate change. He stressed he would listen to voices different from his own leftist background. His cabinet comprises 14 women and 10 men, with an average age of 42.   

He has come to power when Chile is in the process of creating a new constitution. 

Boric has vowed that his government will attack poverty and inequality. He said those problems were the unacceptable underbelly of a free market model imposed by General Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 to 1990. 

One of the greatest challenges for the president would be Chile's pandemic-battered economy. Experts say another daunting task for Boric is to balance a Congress just about equally split between left and right-wing parties. 

Chile has been seen as a rare economic success story in Latin America, especially due to its mineral resources. But the nation has been rocked by protests for better income equality, healthcare and education in recent years, some led by Boric himself.  

tg/aw   (AFP, AP, Reuters)