December 3, 2021

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A former student leader seeks to be president of Chile

A former student leader seeks to be president of Chile

Santiago (AFP) – Within a few years of being a student leader, left-wing congressman Gabriel Borek has moved on to two consecutive terms in Chile’s House of Representatives and now aspires to the presidency.

At 35, single, he is the youngest of the seven candidates who will compete on November 21 to succeed center-right president Sebastian Pinera.

To the chagrin of many, when he swore his first oath as deputy in 2014, he appeared without a suit or tie, wearing a gabardine jacket. Before a Conservative MP’s complaint, he responded that “it’s a mechanism for the elite to get away and differentiate themselves from the lower town”. “I don’t care how I judge my appearance,” he added. He wore more formal clothes at the start of his second term.

Known for years for his long hair and bushy beard, Bourek surprised some when he shaved the sides of his head and left a Mohawk-style tuft of hair down the middle. In the presidential primaries won by Communist candidate Daniel Gado, he had his hair cut.

A supporter of keeping something in his life private, he recently said that for the past two years he has had a partner he “adore,” who has been involved in the feminist activities of his campaign. He has said that if he wins the election, he will abolish the position of first lady. “There can be no situations in the state that have to do with or be associated with the president’s relationship, or with anyone.”

The son of Croatian ancestors and a mother of Hispanic origin, Borek was born in Punta Arenas, 3,000 kilometers south of Santiago, and in addition to Magellan, represents Antarctica in the Chamber, which influences the importance attached to his program of decentralization of Chile, which has a length of more than 4,200 km. His platform also highlights feminism, environmental transformation and decent work, proposing structural reforms to the pension system, health and education and “53 concrete changes for the new Chile”.

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After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he traveled to the Chilean capital to study law and already at university he began to be a member of the army in left-wing parties and movements, some of which he helped found, and between 2011 and 2012 he was already one of the leaders of a powerful university movement that demanded free and quality education, which at times kept the first Pinera government intact. He graduated in 2012, although he did not graduate. A year later, he won a deputy seat as an independent, and in 2017 won again, this time as a member of the Convergencia Social, one of the many movements and parties that make up the leftist Frente Amplio (FA).

At the beginning of the year, the Football Association asked him to register as a presidential candidate for the Convergencia Social, to represent the bloc and in July he defeated Jadue, who was the front-runner in the left primaries, defeating him by an unexpected 60%. . Now it represents the Dignity Consent Alliance, formed by the Football Association and the Communist Party.

Two years earlier, against the FA’s decision, Borek unilaterally signed a sweeping constitutional agreement that led to the call for a referendum that became the institutional way to halt the protests that followed a violent social outbreak a month earlier. His actions cost him severe criticism from the Communist Party and a temporary withdrawal from the front.

His agreement proposes the creation of a comprehensive health fund to prevent Chile from continuing to have two types of health, one of which discriminates on the basis of income. It also encourages eliminating private pension fund managers who offer very low withdrawal amounts, based on individual contributions. On the other hand, Borek is offering a comprehensive pension of 250,000 pesos ($306) to those over 65, an economic revitalization that includes support for female employment, green investment, and advocacy for LGBT rights. It also suggests creating a 1% job quota in public and private companies for transgender people.

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During a presidential debate in September, the far-right standard-bearer, Jose Antonio Caste, confronted Borek because he met in 2018, in France, Ricardo Palma Salamanca, convicted of killing a conservative senator in 1991, when he was a FN member, Rodriguez who fought at gun Military Dictatorship (1973-1990). The candidate replied, “When I was wrong, I can think of my mistakes and ask for forgiveness.” A year ago, he was fined 5% of his salary by the House Ethics Committee over a video showing a T-shirt with the legislator’s image with a bullet in his forehead.