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Growing Pains: Former Student Leaders Step into Electoral Politics Amid Continuing Mobilization in Chile

As Chile's student marches continue, some former leaders of the movement are transitioning to electoral politics, looking to win seats in parliament come November.

In 2011, a nationwide reform movement swept Chile, with teachers, students and their families filling the streets to demand free, quality public education. As student marches and police crackdowns continue into 2013, some former leaders of the movement are transitioning to electoral politics, looking to win seats in parliament come November.

View an exclusive slideshow of some of these student leaders and the recent protests in which they participated.


The campaign with the most media attention is that of Camila Vallejo (pictured). The former president of the Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (Student Federation of the University of Chile—FECH) became a celebrity for bringing a critical voice and creative leadership to the student movement. She, along with former student leaders Karol Cariola (pictured) and Camilo Ballesteros, are campaigning for seats with the Communist Party.

Other student leaders are struggling to make the leap without the help of Chile’s established parties. This June, José Ankalao (pictured), former spokesman for the Federación Mapuche de Estudiantes (Mapuche Student Federation—FEMAE), quit a presidential campaign after his candidate, José Antonio Gómez, agreed to support the campaign of former President Michelle Bachelet.

Gabriel Boric and Francisco Figueroa (pictured), who will campaign with the Izquierda Autónoma (Autonomous Left), are also campaigning outside of the main coalitions.

Click here to view an expanded version of the slideshow.

All photos courtesy of the author.

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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Chile, Elections, Michelle Bachelet, Camila Vallejo, Chile student protests


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