Gabriel Boric, 35, born and raised in Punta Arenas, could be the next Chilean president according to the latest CADEM public opinion poll, particularly since in the primary of the alliance of parties to which he belongs, he clearly beat a Marxist candidate sponsored by the Chilean communist party.
Boric is currently a member of the Chilean Lower House, studied at The British School in Punta Arenas before leaving for the Law School of the University of Chile. He became famous as a student leader during the massive protests in Santiago demanding universities be open and free for all Chileans, eliminating tuition fees.
In 2014 he was elected to Congress as an independent candidate, representing the Magallanes Region and Antarctica, and breaking the old tradition of political alliances in Punta Arenas..
In the latest poll released, Boric figures with a 30% vote intention, followed by former minister Sebastián Sichel with 25% and the current president of the Chilean Senate, Yasna Provoste with 12%. In the event of a runoff Boric could come ahead of any of the two candidates.
Since Boric beat the communist candidate in the primaries, Daniel Jadue, markets have reacted positively in Chile. Jaude had announced economic reforms considered too radical, scaring markets and voters.
Anyhow it is still believed that the son of a Punta Arenas chemical engineer working for ENAP (State Oil Company) will distance himself from pro market policies and will promote much higher social spending, precisely in education and public health.
It should also be underlined that the coalition, Concertación, that has ruled Chile for almost three decades since General Pinochet stepped down and now under the banner of Constitutional Unity, have finally agreed to hold primaries, 21 August, to decide on their candidate, Three are the possible hopefuls: Christian democrat Provoste, the former spokesperson of Socialist governments Paula Narvaez and former Justice minister Carlos Maldonado.
Whoever wins will be competing in the first presidential election round 21 November and if lucky the runoff in December.
CADEM interviewed 700 people in Chile between 21/23 July with a margin error of plus/minus 3,7 percentage points.