The popularity of Gabriel Boric rises eight points and pushes support for the new Chilean Constitution | The USA Print

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The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, enters the Congress in Valparaiso to give his first speech to the nation, on June 1, 2022.
The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, enters the Congress in Valparaiso to give his first speech to the nation, on June 1, 2022.Presidency of Chile (EFE/Presidency of Chile)

The popularity of the Chilean president, the leftist Gabriel Boric, had only dropped since he took office on March 11. After a complex start, however, the trend has turned around after his speech to the Nation, last Wednesday, according to the pollster Cadem. With an intervention in which he asked for confidence to prevail over defeatism, the president managed to increase his support for the first time in almost three months, from 36% to 44%.

With an evident decrease in disapproval, which fell to 57% to 47% according to the same opinion poll, Boric managed to push support for the new Constitution. Before the consultation for the position in the plebiscite of next September 4, which will define the destiny of the text that refines the constitutional convention, those who approve it went from 37% to 42%. In other words, support for the proposal was only three points behind those who reject it – 45% –, who had been leading the polls since the beginning of April.

The one on June 1 was a speech before Congress, fulfilling a Chilean democratic tradition, where Boric did not make an explicit call to approve the constitutional text: “Both options are legitimate [aprobarlo o rechazarlo] and the Government has the duty to guarantee that citizens express themselves freely at the polls in an informed manner.” Despite this, on other occasions he has not hidden that his government is about to approve. The president himself has said that whatever the case may be, the text will be better than the current one. La Moneda has launched an advertising campaign – criticized by the opposition, which considers it biased – and some of its ministers, such as Giorgio Jackson, have indicated in the last few hours that, if the proposal is rejected in September, some of the reforms it seeks the Executive cannot be carried out.

The results of the Cadem survey – a weekly thermometer of Chilean politics, criticized at other times by the current ruling party – represent an injection of spirits for La Moneda, after an adverse start to the mandate. With multiple crises developing, but above all with a panorama marked by problems of insecurity and high inflation, Boric sought with his speech to change the state of mind and for the Government to resume the political agenda, which has been complex for the president and his generation that has broken into the front line of power.

Without much experience in working from the State and with a “fractured” country – as Boric himself diagnosed last week – the challenges are multiple and complex. As the plebiscite approaches, Chilean society is taking sides with one of the two options and is becoming polarized, in a referendum that will be mandatory, unlike the current elections.

It is the first time that a president has raised so many points after his speech before Congress, since at least 2014, according to Cadem. Boric, who has talent as a speaker and knows how to take advantage of these spaces, on the night of June 1, he made an unusual national broadcast – the first of his mandate –, where he made a kind of summary of his speech in the morning, which lasted two hours and 20 minutes. The next day, Thursday, he had a meeting with the regional radio stations. According to the pollster, in addition, 63% evaluated Boric’s intervention as good or very good and 68% said they had been informed of the left-wing president’s speech, who yesterday began a tour of Canada, where he already met with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. On Wednesday, he will participate in the Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, United States.

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