- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
A leftist millennial who rose to prominence during anti-government protests has been elected as Chile's next president after a bruising campaign against a free-market firebrand likened to Donald Trump.
With 68 per cent of 46,887 polling stations reporting, Gabriel Boric had 55 per cent of the votes, compared to 45 per cent for his opponent, Jose Antonio Kast.
Kast recognised defeat and called his opponent to congratulate him on his "grand triumph" as supporters of Boric gathered in downtown Santiago to celebrate.
Kast, who has a history of defending Chile's past military dictatorship, finished ahead in the first round of voting last month but failed to secure a majority.
That set up a head-to-head runoff against Boric, who finished two points behind.
Boric becomes the first candidate elected president after losing the first round.
He was able to reverse the difference by expanding beyond his base in the capital, Santiago, and attracting voters in rural areas who do not side with political extremes.
For example, in the northern region of Antofagasta, where he finished third in the first round of voting, he trounced Kast by about 20 points.
The two candidates could not be more different.
Kast, 55, a devout Roman Catholic and father of nine, emerged from the far-right fringe after having won less than eight per cent of the vote in 2017.
He rose steadily in the polls this time with a divisive discourse emphasising conservative family values and playing on Chileans' fears that a surge in migration - from Haiti and Venezuela - is driving crime.
A longtime politician, he has a record of attacking Chile's LGBTQ community and advocating more restrictive abortion laws.
He also accused outgoing President Sebastian Pinera, a fellow conservative, of betraying the economic legacy of General Augusto Pinochet, the country's former military leader.
Kast's brother, Miguel, was one of Pinochet's top advisers.
Boric, 35, will become Chile's youngest modern president. He was among several activists elected to Congress in 2014 after leading protests for higher-quality education.
If elected, he said, he will "bury" the neoliberal economic model left by Pinochet and raise taxes on the "super rich" to expand social services, fight inequality and boost protections of the environment.
In recent days, both candidates tried to veer toward the center.
"I'm not an extremist ... I don't feel far right," Kast proclaimed in the final stretch even as he was dogged by revelations that his German-born father had been a card-carrying member of Adolf Hitler's Nazi party.
Meanwhile Boric, who is backed by a coalition of leftist parties that includes Chile's Communist Party, brought more centrist advisers onto his team and promised any changes would be gradual and fiscally responsible.