End of a Political Cycle in Chile, What’s Next?

The vote for 50 Constituent Councilors to draft a new Chilean constitution took place on Sunday May 7th

Kast’s momentary advantage is that he spoke clearly and directly. No Constitution or rules. Just order and progress, and the issues of crime, drugs, and migration.

By Paulo Hidalgo Aramburu* (El Mostrador)

HAVANA TIMES – Perhaps one starts from an overly obvious premise –term for the cycle–, but this requires careful analysis. Last Sunday’s elections for members of a Constitutional Council were not one more of the many routines that Chilean democracy has had in its history. That event had a cataclysmic effect on society and the political system, if such an epithet still makes sense in Chile.

Let’s go in parts. There is no doubt that the election, like all of them, was a plebiscite for the government of the day. The defeat was wide and expressive. It marked the end of the political focus of the Broad Front generation. It seems that nothing was learned from the experience of Podemos in Spain, which ended up fragmented, without leaders, in a clear downward curve. Let’s be clear, the left is either social democrat with all the nuances or it simply takes refuge in a discourse of enlightened young middle classes, legitimate, by the way.

It has long been written that feminism and diversities are a historic achievement, but gradual strategies are required that are in tune with the majority of working women and who do not understand strange sociological language. As former professor Ludolfo Paramio pointed out, the autonomy of women does not mean promising happiness. Politics, ultimately, is not a refractory collection of identities. They are just little islands that do not summon electoral majorities.

Neither did a change that was thought to be radical in Chile take place. All bets of this order have no place in democracies whose reforms are gradual, consensual, and agreed upon. Thus, the election of the Constituent Councilors indicates a fallout of the main public policies that must be resumed with broad concessions and agreements. In other words, the Broad Front failed to open a new political cycle in Chile, to a large extent, because it had a wrong diagnosis and a niche leftist politics. It was thought that they were the majority in a mirror that from the beginning showed a wayward, fragmented, fickle, showbiz, vulgar Parliament.

What’s left of all this? Of course, “save the furniture” and negotiate as best as possible the key projects in pensions, taxation and health. Confront crime and order migratory flows with humanity and rationality. In the political sphere, the socialists have the great task of trying to lead a resurgence of a sober and gradualist social democratic option that unites all progressive political forces. This to compete again on the best electoral footing in upcoming events.

The rightwing RN-UDI by the way has a problem. A good part of his electorate fled to the Republican Party and now find themselves in the grip, since the policy of gradual agreements has been radically devalued. The fear is the emptying of their electorate without return and, without clear candidates, they will have to adhere to Kast in the next contest.

Kast’s momentary advantage is that he spoke clearly and directly. No Constitution or rules. Just order and progress, and the issues of crime, drugs, and migration. He totally connected with the popular and middle-class sentiment. He drew his appearance and his speech well and prepares for the long march to the presidential election. From now on they are going to program the public appearances of the leader, and work in the territories as a true “chosen people”.

However, as is known, Kast has no interest in public policy, his discourse basically consists of the equation that is nationalism, hard work, family. It is possible that such is what captures the imagination of Chileans today. But it is worth noting that the electorate today is fluid, opportunistic, non-ideologized, individualistic. Kast is a brand that can be carried away by the wind.

*Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences. University of Talca.

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