Overcoming the old with the new: Chile’s ballot box

When a new generation takes charge of the process of a country, when it resolves to enter politics despite the enormous institutional crisis, when it creates its own parties as new tools that no longer respond to the ideologies of the last century and in its organizational structures, do not separate the female or youth branches, but establish gender parity and the full right of the new generations to be fully included from their own structures… When all this happens in the midst of the tremendous environmental crisis and these young people resolve that all areas must be considered from the perspective of saving the planet, we are faced with a new sensitivity that deserves respect and admiration.

Their convictions are based on the full exercise of human rights, social rights guaranteed by the state, redistribution of wealth and the fight against corruption. They recognize that the neo-liberal system is in deep crisis and no longer wants to hand over the role it has played until now to the market. They make empathy and compassion their guiding emotions and raise hope even in the most adverse situations.

It takes a great deal of courage to contest power in the midst of this civilizational crisis, which has been highlighted worldwide by the pandemic and which is hitting – as UN Secretary-General Guterres rightly describes it – like a cascade of crises, in all aspects of life today.

The generation just approaching thirty-five is better prepared than many of its predecessors, not only because it has studied the issues it will have to face in depth, but especially because it knows what it does not want. As Ortega y Gasset would say, “a mistake is a bridge to learning, the opportunity to improve what at some point went wrong. It is from our mistakes that change and growth arise. Mistakes are great teachers. They show us which path to abandon or which strategy to improve”, and the current system has shown such evident signs of its failures and blunders that there is no other possibility but to learn and make amends.
Today’s young Chileans make the principle of self-improvement shine like never before, they love their predecessors even more deeply, and they admire their best works, which they feel are synthesized in them.

As H. van Doren’s “Exhordium of Young Power” points out: “The old man and the child are marginalized in the struggle between two generations for the control of power. The generation in power prevents the young from gaining access to it, but it inevitably happens that the young people break through, displacing the old and now wielding the controls. The displaced then have no choice but to march into their autumn. In turn, those who were of apprenticeship age have grown up and begin their struggle with the new owners. Old generations are disappearing and new children are bursting onto the life scene. That is the inexorable mechanics of history”.

With a larger electorate than in the first round of elections, where only 47.3% of those eligible voted, the polling stations have closed with a turnout of more than 8 million voters, a higher turnout than ever before in Chile.

The ultra-right option, representative of authoritarian, elitist, violent, predatory and sexist thinking, obtained 44.15% of the votes (98.77% of the polling stations have been counted). While young people, with their tremendous positive energy deployed throughout the national territory, have managed this time to seize power with a significant 55.85% of the votes, to seek to overcome in solidarity and with social justice the crisis of magnitude in which we are immersed.

This result installs Gabriel Boric, born in the southernmost city in the world and only 35 years old, in the Presidency of the Nation from the first days of March 2022.
The celebration is political, but also generational. The future is theirs and they have had the audacity to bring it forward.

The author, Pía Figueroa, Chilean journalist and writer, is a life-long humanist who wrote several monographs and books.
Pía has been Chile’s Vice Minister of National Assets from 1990 to 1993.
She is co-founder and director of Pressenza, an international news agency specialized in peace, non-violence, humanism and environmentalism.

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