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Chile’s new leftist president marks political shift

STORY: Chile swore in leftist president Gabriel Boric on Friday, marking the sharpest political shift the Andean country has seen in decades. In his first speech to the nation, he vowed to listen to all sides and warned of the challenges ahead. “It is this Chile that only in a handful years, you’ve had to live through earthquakes, catastrophes, crises, convulsions, and a global health crisis and human rights violations that will never be repeated in our country.” Boric, 36 years old and a former activist, took the presidential sash from outgoing billionaire President Sebastian Pinera, marking him the country’s youngest-ever elected leader. Boric addressed immigration, climate change and economic inclusion, a key aspect of his platform. “We also know that the economy continues to suffer and that the country needs to stand up, grow and fairly distribute the fruits of this growth. Because when there is no distribution of wealth, when wealth is concentrated only in a few, peace is very difficult. We need to redistribute the wealth. ” Boric’s rise has sparked hope among progressives in Chile, but also stoked fear that decades of economic stability could come undone. He’s vowed to overhaul a market-led economic model to fight inequality, which sparked widespread protests in 2019. The copper-producing country is also in the midst of redrafting its dictatorship-era Constitution. During his speech, Boric said, “We need a constitution that unites us, a constitution that’s different from the one imposed by blood, fire and fraud of the dictatorship.” The young president faces a raft of challenges including an economic slowdown, high inflation and a split legislature that will test his deal-making abilities.

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