Chile's Boric vows to keep pushing defeated tax plan

Chile's leftist president Gabriel Boric marked his first year in office on Saturday and insisted he will continue pushing tax reforms seen as central to his ambitious social program.

Boric began the day meeting with his cabinet before greeting hundreds of people gathered in front of the presidential palace in Santiago.

Boric spent nearly an hour shaking hands, posing for pictures and receiving gifts and messages, while a smaller group of far-right demonstrators nearby staged an anti-Boric protest.

In the cabinet meeting, Boric said he would not give up on the reform program that was narrowly rejected Wednesday by the lower house.

"We are going to insist on the tax reform," he said, without explaining how he hoped to do so.

The defeated plan would have imposed new taxes on the wealthiest Chileans and on the mining industry in order to finance greater spending on health and education, as well as a 25 percent increase in the universal basic pension.

"The year 2022 was not easy," Boric conceded, before adding that "we have all the conditions to move forward and lay the foundations of a welfare state and guarantee social rights."

Boric, a former student leader, became the youngest president in Chilean history when he took office a year ago.