Shift to the left: can Boric unite Chile?

Chile has elected former student leader Gabriel Boric Font as its new president. The 35-year-old ran for a broad left-wing coalition under the name Apruebo Dignidad (I approve Dignity). He now plans to reform the education and health systems, build new housing, promote women and indigenous people, fight drug cartels and raise taxes. Europe's press has high hopes.

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La Vanguardia (ES) /

Boric consolidates the new left

La Vanguardia hopes that the country will shift its oriention now:

“Chile has decided to break with the past and pursue moderate left-wing policies. ... Chile was the cradle of the neoliberal model and the privatisations after the Pinochet coup, which led to economic growth but did not eliminate inequalities. That is why the country is pinning its hopes on recovery based on the creation of universal public services, the promotion of green energy and a rebalancing of the political and social climate. ... With Boric's victory, the new left that governs in Argentina, Peru and Bolivia is consolidating its position in South America.”

Le Courrier (CH) /

Well armed against destabilisation

Boric knows that he has important allies on his side, writes Le Courrier, delighted with the outcome:

“The project - strengthening public services, establishing pensions based on solidarity, women's rights, progressive taxation, raising the minimum wage, environmental protection, reducing working hours, decentralisation - is in line with the demands of the street and a large part of the Constitutional Convention. ... These could be decisive allies in the face of any attempts at destabilisation, judicial or parliamentary manoeuvres. The Constitutional Convention's ability to present a constitution next year which unites the majority of Chileans and thus eliminates the last vestiges of the Pinochet era will also play a key role.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Hard left course would be fatal

Radical tax hikes would cause severe economic damage, warns the Financial Times:

“Investors are nervous, capital is flooding out of the country and the overheated economy will cool down fast next year. These should all be strong arguments for moderation, anchored by a pragmatic choice of finance minister. Chile's tax take may be low, at 19.3 per cent of GDP in 2020. There is an argument for raising it. But Brazil and Argentina, where revenues are much higher, stand as monuments to what can go wrong when a bloated state misdirects resources.”

Die Welt (DE) /

A useful partner

Europe could find a good mediator in Boric, writes Latin America correspondent Tobias Käufer in the daily Die Welt:

“Boric could become a partner for the West when it comes to enforcing the right to free, transparent elections in the region. The new president has proven that you can win elections even as a leftist who criticises leftist repression. ... Western companies are also likely to have an interest in his success. Because if in these times of climate debate it's still possible to implement a policy that pays as much attention to the rights of indigenous peoples as it does to nature, the free trade agreements between Europe and Latin America criticised by Western NGOs would once again be negotiable and enforceable.”

Duma (BG) /

Waiting for the trend to come to Europe

Duma hopes the shift to the left will also take hold in Europe:

“The leftist wave is sweeping over the South American continent and there's no going back. Next year presidential elections are due in other countries, and it's almost certain that Brazil will switch to the left once more. The question is: when will the same thing happen in Europe? This year has also been a relatively good one for European socialists, but they still have a long way to go. On the positive side, flagship countries like Germany, Sweden and Norway are already leading by example.”