It should come as no surprise that several world gauges of public opinion agree that millions of citizens are disappointed with democracy and its ability to truly serve the interests of their nations. Politicians and parties called upon to run governments today are in question when their main objective is to get or stay in power rather than to serve ideas and programmes that represent the sovereign will of the people.
This is what those who vote for them think and want.
Citizens are increasingly indifferent or irritated by the behaviour of those who should be their leaders and conductors. In both Europe and the United States, the greed of their leaders and collectivities marks the rise and fall of multiple electoral hopes.
Especially when the ideological profiles of the collectivities are blurred by pragmatism and, in a way, they surrender to the idea that everything will remain the same in the economy and in the development prospects of their populations. So much so that it makes no difference whether Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or social democrats are elected, when the triumph at the ballot box of progressive parties, as happened in Greece a few years ago, subsequently leads those elected to implement the same measures as those who preceded them in office. That is, by following the recommendations of the World Bank and other international bodies.
It has been seen before how the arch-rival German political parties consolidated an agreement to govern the country and amicably share out public administration posts. Even now the arrival of a neo-fascist in France is likely to behave in the same way as her predecessors. In other words, she will leave everything very much the same.
In Latin America, it remains to be seen whether Petro’s government in Colombia or Lula’s in Brazil will represent a real change of course in the economic model that governs the continent. And what happened in Argentina from Macri to Fernández, which has only deepened the crisis, social inequality, corruption and popular despair, will not happen.
We are already seeing how in Chile, little by little, the promises of the left-wing parties that elected Gabriel Boric are beginning to run up against reality, against power and the dictates of those who still feel they are the masters of the country, even though the triumph of the Concertación and now of that infinity of avant-garde expressions may have caused them fear or stinging.
Once in La Moneda, the new president appointed as finance minister someone who gave full guarantees to the business world and to right-wing politicians who value him for his moderation, prudence and other attributes that guarantee that the order inherited from the military dictatorship and its successors will not be disrupted, as was promised during the election campaign. And although there is talk that we will have pension and tax reforms, we are warned every day that these will only be able to move forward to the “extent possible”, that they will have to be negotiated with an opposition parliament and with the set of employers’ unions that control the powerful media and have a very decisive influence on a population with a poor civic spirit. So much so that the constituent process itself culminated in immense citizen opposition which, as is well known, preferred to pass the buck on the first months of the new government, its undeniable sloppiness and its inability to curb rampant crime, which today, without doubt, continues to be what worries Chileans most.
This is more worrying than inflation, rising unemployment and the serious deterioration of the population’s purchasing power.
It is clear that after the failure to provide us with a new Constitution in which those who really worked on a proposal were elected by the citizens, what we have today is the collusion of all the parties of the right, centre and left that have come together in Parliament for a new attempt at constitutional reform that this time will be strictly limited in its margins or “edges” of action, since it will reserve the acceptance and final drafting of a “good” Magna Carta to three higher bodies nominated by the political leadership, as is so often proclaimed. This means that the text to be produced by the new “elected” constituent body
This means that the text to be produced by the new constituent body “elected by the people” can be partially or fundamentally amended by the representatives of the legislators and party agreements from practically the entire political spectrum.
Certainly, this is a scandalous democratic defection which, however, could again be aborted in the so-called “exit plebiscite” which is finally reserved for the citizens and where they will be able to say only yes or no to the text resulting from all the filters already mentioned so that it finally safeguards the institutional system inherited, with some amendments or tweaks, the Pinochet Lagos Constitution which still governs us.
On the verge of leaving on holiday, the political class is euphoric and is preparing to face a new electoral process to elect the new constituents in a process of nomination of candidates that now only corresponds to the parties and no longer to the social referents. This time only independent candidates nominated by the parties will be accepted. Although parity, at least, will be respected in such a way that the resulting Constituent Assembly will have the same number of men and women. The only democratic decision we could point to, besides the compulsory citizen’s vote, which has been put in place after these last processes. This certainly worries the parties and machines because of the complexity of predicting the election results with so many voters.
Although everything is now well regulated and limited by a democracy that continues to be held hostage, it is unlikely that in this new year the popularity of Boric’s government will rise from its low figures. When the new president is so far off the mark on his promises and is determined to do everything by consensus with the opposition and the powers that be. Even removing ministers and other people he trusts, under pressure from the media and a right-wing that is being moody and threatening to withdraw from the dialogue tables with the executive.