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20 Dec, 2021 15:00

Election shocks stock market in Chile

Election shocks stock market in Chile

Santiago’s stock exchange plunged almost 7% Monday on news that leftist candidate Gabriel Boric won the Chilean presidential elections, becoming the country’s youngest-ever president-elect.

The nation’s currency, the Chilean peso, also dropped more than 3% to 868 per US dollar.

The election was the Andean country’s most divisive in decades, with the two candidates offering starkly different visions of the future.

A 35-year-old former student protest leader, Boric has pledged to raise taxes, scrap private pensions, and oppose mines that “destroy” the environment as part of his campaign against far-rightist Jose Antonio Kast, a defender of former dictator Augusto Pinochet. Boric has previously pledged to overhaul the country’s market-oriented economic model, which drove decades of growth but also led to inequality.

Chile, which has been suffering the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, was rocked by social upheaval that broke out in October 2019 as thousands of people took to the streets to demand greater equality.

After declining 5.8% in 2020 due to pandemic-imposed lockdown measures, Chile’s economy rebounded to end 2021 with projected growth of about 11.5%.

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