Local political analysts hold their triumph evidences a generational change, as neither of the two pre-candidates were born at the time of the 1973 coup d'état.
On Sunday, the Chilean presidential primary elections produced results that opinion polls had not predicted. Citizens elected independent politician Sebastian Sichel as the candidate of the "Let's Go Chile" coalition of right-wing parties and former student leader Gabriel Boric as the candidate in the "Approve Dignity" coalition of left-wing organizations.
With 49 percent of the vote, Sichel defeated former Mayor Joaquin Lavin, Mario Desbordes (National Renovation party) and Ignacio Briones (Evopoli party). Sichel was Social Development Minister in 2018 and president of the State Bank until December 2020.
Politically, he gained experience in several organizations, among which is the Christian Democratic Party where he militated for over a decade. During the electoral campaign, Sichel positioned himself as a "center" candidate, concerned about the "punished" middle class and the discredit of traditional politics.
"The time has come to change history for the better, the history of the common people... Goodbye to the old politics that splits the world in two," he said.
Gabriel Boric won 60,3 percent of the votes and defeated Communist Party candidate Daniel Jadue, whom the mainstream media attacked harshly during the election campaign. Besides promoting feminist and environmentalist demands, Boric pledged to change the current economic and social model.
Neoliberalism was born in Chile, and it will die in Chile.— Tricontinental Institute for Social Research (@tri_continental) July 18, 2021
Read about @danieljadue, a candidate in the Primary elections which takes place today. He is said to be the opposition candidate in the Chilean presidential elections in November 2021. #Chile https://t.co/TdiG4I258r
"Do not be afraid of the youth to change this country... If Chile was the cradle of neoliberalism, it will also be its tomb", said this 35-year-old lawmaker who got over a million votes in the primary elections, a feat that happened the last time in 2013 when Chileans elected Michelle Bachelet as presidential candidate.
According to local political analysts, the triumph of Sichel and Boric evidences the existence of a generational change in Chilean politics, as neither of the two pre-candidates were born at the time of the 1973 coup d'état.
"It is also a great defeat for the right-wing parties that succumbed to an independent candidate," University of Talca professor Mauricio Morales said and recalled that the right has suffered defeats since the social outbreak of 2019, the last one being the election of constituents, in which it only achieved 37 of the 155 seats in the convention in charge of drafting the new Constitution.
"For the first time, the left elects a candidate with possibilities of electoral success without the support of the parties that have governed for almost three decades," said Lucia Dammert, professor at the University of Santiago de Chile.