Chile's new president vows to redistribute wealth

'We need a Constitution that unites us,' says Gabriel Boric.

Chile's new president vows to redistribute wealth

Chile's new President Gabriel Boric vowed Friday to redistribute wealth while boosting economic growth after years of social unrest.

"The country has to get back on its feet, grow and distribute the fruits of its growth in a just way," Boric said in his first speech as president from the balcony of the La Moneda Presidential Palace in the capital, Santiago.

"When there’s no wealth distribution, when wealth is concentrated in the hands of only a few, it’s very difficult to have peace," he said. "We need to redistribute the wealth that Chileans produce."

On the Constitution, he said his government will "decidedly" support the convention as constitution writers advance on the charter. He added that the document has to represent the entire country, including women and indigenous communities.

"We need a Constitution that unites us and that we can call ours. A Constitution that, unlike the one that was forced on us with fire, blood and fraud during the dictatorship, is born in democracy," he said.

Boric took the oath of office in the city of Valparaiso earlier in the day, becoming, at the age of 36, the youngest person to rule the South American nation.

He defeated the far-right candidate Jose Antonio Kast in December, winning 55.8% of votes running on a platform of more social protections for the poor and boosting taxes to pay for social reform.

He has announced unprecedented decisions, including appointing a majority woman Cabinet composed of 14 women and 10 men.

Social unrest began Oct. 19, 2019, in response to a now-suspended 4% transport fare hike as nationwide protests erupted.