Gabriel Boric, born in 1986 in Chile’s Punta Arenas, became Chile’s youngest president ever at age 35. With Croatian ancestry, Boric rose from student protest leader to elected office. His wife Irina Karamanos is a feminist activist. Boric’s historic 2021 election victory cemented Chile’s demand for progressive change.
|Date of Birth
|February 11, 1986
|Punta Arenas, Chile
|Father: Luis Javier Boric Scarpa
Mother: Maria Soledad Font Aguilera
Meter: 1.78 m
Centimeter: 178 cm
|Kilogram: 50 kg
Pound: 110 lbs
- Born in 1986 in Punta Arenas, Chile. Comes from a Croatian-Chilean family on his father’s side.
- Studied law at the University of Chile but did not complete his degree. Was active in student politics and protests while in university.
- Rose to prominence as a student leader during the 2011-2013 Chilean student protests against inequality and demanding education reforms.
- Elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2013 and again in 2017 as part of the leftist Broad Front coalition.
- Played a key role in negotiating the agreement to hold a referendum on a new constitution following mass protests in 2019.
- Ran as the Broad Front candidate in the 2021 Chilean presidential election. Defeated the Communist party candidate Daniel Jadue in the Apruebo Dignidad primary.
- At 35 years old, was elected President of Chile in December 2021, becoming the youngest president in Chile’s history.
- Represented a sharp shift from previous Chilean presidents, with his leftist views, activist background, and informal style.
- Promised major reforms to address inequality and corruption in Chile. His presidency will likely lead to significant changes in Chilean politics.
Gabriel Boric Family and Early Life
Gabriel Boric, Chile’s new young president, has an interesting connection to Croatia on his father’s side. Boric was born in 1986 in Punta Arenas, Chile’s southernmost city, and has two brothers named Simón and Tomás.
Boric’s paternal ancestors immigrated to Chile in 1897 from the island of Ugljan off the Adriatic coast of Croatia, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Croatian media first took note of Boric in 2012 when he led Chilean student protests. As a child, Boric used to attend a Yugoslav social club with his family each Sunday until Croatia declared independence in 1991. Not fully grasping the political changes at a young age, Boric once told his grandmother he was Yugoslavian, angering her according to a Croatian newspaper report.
Despite the long history since his ancestors left Croatia, Boric maintains ties with relatives still living in Ugljan. His great-grandfather Juan Boric (Ive Borić Barešić) was among the first Croatians to arrive in Chile’s Magallanes region around 1885. Juan and his brother Šime participated in the Tierra del Fuego gold rush before Juan briefly returned to Ugljan to marry Natalia Crnosija. The couple then settled in Magallanes and had 11 children, including Boric’s grandfather Luis Boric Crnosij in 1908.
On his mother’s side, Boric has Catalan heritage. His unconventional image contrasts with his family’s history in Chilean politics. Boric’s paternal grandfather was a chemical engineer and a long-time government oil company employee. His granduncle Vladimiro Boric became the first Catholic bishop of Punta Arenas, while another granduncle, Roque Scarpa Martinich, was Magallanes’ first regional intendant after Chile’s dictatorship ended in the 1990s. Both Boric’s father and granduncle were members of Chile’s Christian Democratic Party.
Gabriel Boric’s Higher Education where is Left Law Degree Unfinished
Gabriel Boric attended primary and secondary school at The British School in his native Punta Arenas before moving to Santiago in 2004. He enrolled at the University of Chile’s law school.
Boric completed his law school coursework in 2009, the same year he became president of the student union. He later focused on preparing for the mandatory final exam and internship requirements. However, Boric did not pass the bar exam in 2011 and opted not to retake it. He never finished his law degree, acknowledging in interviews that he had never planned on becoming a lawyer. Boric had aspirations of being a writer.
Also Read: Meet Irina Karamanos, Gabriel Boric Wife and First Lady of Chile
During his time at the university, Boric worked as a teaching assistant to Professor José Zalaquett in his human rights course. Zalaquett spoke highly of Boric, noting his tendency to question and analyze crititcally. This experience likely influenced Boric’s social justice advocacy in later student movements.
Gabriel Boric Relationship with Wife Irina Karamanos
Irina Karamanos, Chile’s new First Lady, was born in 1989 in Santiago to parents Jorge Karamanos and Sabine Adrian Gierke. She earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and communication sciences from the University of Chile.
Well before entering the public eye, Karamanos dedicated herself to social activism and advancing feminist causes in Chile. She has been a prominent advocate for women’s rights and empowerment.
Karamanos and Gabriel Boric kept their relationship low-profile over the course of dating for more than two years. Their romance blossomed outside of politics and the media spotlight.
Karamanos first grabbed national attention when she appeared alongside Boric on election night as he advanced to the presidential runoff. After Boric’s victory, Karamanos took the stage at his acceptance speech as Chile’s new First Lady.
At 32 years old, Karamanos represents a youthful modern companion to Chile’s young progressive president. She joins Boric in breaking from tradition as part of a new political era.
In a recent interview, Boric and Karamanos shared pet names they use for each other. Dubbing her his “artichoke” (alcachofa in Spanish), Boric affectionately calls Karamanos “Chofo.” She in turn calls him “Chaofa.” The nicknames provide a glimpse into the casual, loving relationship between Chile’s presidential couple.
Gabriel Boric’s Career From Student Activist to Chile’s President
Early Steps into Political Activism
Gabriel Boric’s involvement in politics began in his youth in Chile’s southernmost Punta Arenas region. In high school, he helped reconstitute the local student federation in 1999-2000. At the University of Chile, Boric joined the leftist Autonomous Students collective and became president of the law school’s student union in 2009, leading protests against university leadership.
Rise to National Prominence
Boric rose to national prominence as a vocal student leader during the massive 2011-2013 protests in Chile demanding education reforms. The demonstrations thrust him into the media spotlight as a champion of student rights.
Elected to Congress with a New Coalition
In 2013, Boric won election to Chile’s Chamber of Deputies as an independent candidate advocating for public education reform in his Magallanes region. He was re-elected in 2017 as part of the new leftist Broad Front coalition.
Key Role in Constitutional Referendum
During the 2019 mass protests against inequality in Chile, Boric was instrumental in negotiating an agreement with the government to hold a referendum on replacing the dictatorship-era constitution. Nearly 80% of Chileans voted in favor.
Historic 2021 Election as President
The massive protests against inequality in 2019-2020 Chile paved the way for dramatic political change, including widespread support in a 2020 referendum to rewrite the constitution drafted under the Pinochet dictatorship. Riding this wave of progressive momentum, Gabriel Boric launched an unorthodox campaign that would propel him to victory in Chile’s 2021 election.
Though initially a longshot, Boric managed to overcome a series of obstacles to become the left’s presidential candidate. The early favorite was Communist Daniel Jadue. And Boric’s own Broad Front coalition initially tried to nominate Beatriz Sánchez again, but she declined.
Boric emerged as an alternative, but his small party lacked the membership to nominate him. In a remarkable grassroots effort, Boric’s team gathered the needed signatures just before the deadline.
Defying predictions, Boric won 60% of the votes in the Apruebo Dignidad primary in July 2021, defeating Jadue. In the general primary the same day, he even beat all candidates from Chile’s conservative coalition. This cemented Boric’s rise from protest leader to frontrunner.
On December 19, 2021, at just 35 years old, Gabriel Boric was elected president of Chile. His path from student activism to Chile’s highest office in such a short time was unprecedented.