Chile's election 'powerful example' for world, Biden tells president-elect Boric

FILE PHOTO: Gabriel Boric closing campaign rally in Santiago
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chile's free and fair elections set a "powerful example" for the region and the world, U.S. President Joe Biden told leftist leader Gabriel Boric, who won election this month as the country's youngest-ever democratically elected president.

Biden called Boric on Thursday to congratulate him and the two leaders discussed their shared commitment to social justice, democracy, human rights and inclusive growth, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

"The President applauded Chile’s free and fair elections as a powerful example to the region and the world," she said.

Boric's win marked another advance for Latin America's left, bolstering talk of a new "pink tide" in the region, as raging poverty fanned by the COVID-19 pandemic sways voters toward those who promise economic overhauls to favor bigger government and higher social spending.

Biden underscored the importance of U.S.-Chile cooperation to promote a green and equitable recovery from the pandemic and to address the existential threat posed by climate change, she said.

Biden also offered his condolences on the death of a 14-year-old Chilean girl, Valentina Orellana-Peralta, who was inadvertently shot dead in a North Hollywood store on Dec. 23 when a police officer opened fire on a man who was attacking another shopper.

Orellana-Peralta was born and raised in Chile's capital, Santiago, and came to the United States six months ago with her mother to visit an older sister, the Los Angeles Times reported.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Grant McCool)

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