Last may the eleventh was a crucial day for Chile´s history; after sixteen years of alternating the presidency between the two most influential coalitions center-left and center-right, Gabriel Boric a 32 year politician, known for his youth and his activities related to activism in favor of student rights, took office as the 38th president of the Republic of Chile.
Boric assumed the presidency with the chilean people filled with hope and optimism of a much more prosperous future; nevertheless, after almost two months of taking office, his presidency has been divided into two main perspectives: one that has cataloged the new government as sinking and a contrary one that looks as this new government as full of new opportunities and positive changes.
A recent poll performed by Cadem has shown that his approval is already at 50% after just nearly two months of government, demonstrating clearly his citizens discontent and concern with his actions. But which factors have led to such a free fall in the president’s image? Why are citizens divided in their perspective about president Boric?
The explanation to the first question is supported by the fact that from March of 2022 to April of 2022 the inflation rate in Chile has risen from 5.8% to 7.8% how it is shown in the following graph provided by the Central Bank of Chile,
This means that in just one month of presidency, Gabriel Boric has managed to increase inflation by 2 percentage points, a value that hasn’t been reached in years. Additionally, the Central Bank has also added that this will not be the end of it, it estimates that the inflation of Chile will reach 10% before the end of the year.
The president’s low popularity has been an effect of the uncertainty his mandate has experienced in the last month. In the same way, others argue that the reactions the country is having and that citizens are living is also due to the high expectancy South America has in the installment of this new government, since it will dictate and show the path for future socialist mandates that may take place in nearby countries.
In other words this will determine how the south american society reacts to the adoption of socialists governments, since the main referent of a left-government is Venezuela, a country clearly known for its unbelievable rates of inflation and the precarious living conditions.
However, everything hasn´t been negative, since to this critical situation the government is living the elected president responded by stating that there is an economic recovery plan whose main aim is a fiscal disbursement of 3.7 million dollars which is expected to mitigate the consequences caused by inflation to the most affected families.
This plan is focused at generating employment and raising the minimum wage as stated by the journal US News “Key goals of the plan, the president said, include creating 500,000 jobs and raising the current monthly minimum wage of 350,000 pesos ($434) to 400,000 pesos ($496) by the end of the year.” (Reuters, 2022).
Jointly, to mitigate the effects of the inflation and increase his popularity, Boric is looking to freeze public transport fares and subsidize fuel prices. The new leader is also advocating to include subsidies for students, “Boric, a former student protester, also announced that food scholarships for students would increase by 15%.” (Reuters, 2022). This action of president Boric was forced by the first protest he managed during his presidency where the students of the country claimed for the government proposals to be implemented.
Finally, the economic scene is still blurry and with high expectations out of this government, with two main possible outputs: a complete failure in the economic system leading to a hyperinflation, or a prosperous economic system that is able to mitigate the effects of the inflation and achieving the majority of their economic goals.
- (2022, April 7). Chile announces $3.7 billion recovery plan to aid struggling economy. financialpost. Retrieved April 30, 2022, from https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/chile-announces-3-7-billion-recovery-plan-to-aid-struggling-economy
- “Chile Announces $3.7 Billion Recovery Plan to Aid Struggling Economy.” US News, https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-04-07/chile-announces-3-7-billion-recovery-plan-to-aid-struggling-economy.