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Author Topic: Chilean Presidential Election 2017 (Piñera landslide, defeats Guillier with 54%)  (Read 28875 times)
Lumine
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« on: October 24, 2016, 10:06:13 am »

Yes, it’s that time again. It seems to be a tradition that the presidential race in Chile formally starts right after the municipal elections, and with about 13 months left until the first round we already have plenty of declared candidates, potential candidates and probably some surprises left in store.

So I’ll be placing a list of candidates here, and then move on to some analysis of what exactly has been going on in Chile since Michelle Bachelet was overwhelmingly elected to a second term in 2013:

Nueva Mayoria:
(DC, PS, PPD, PRSD, IC, MAS, PC - Ruling left to center-left coalition)

Former President Ricardo Lagos (PPD): Strictly speaking Lagos has only said he's "willing to run", but for all purposes he is in full candidate mode, having campaigned across the municipal election and having seen the Energy Minister resign to serve as his campaign chairman. President from 2000-2006 and renowned as the symbol of the old Concertacion, Lagos jump-started the Presidential race earlier than expected a month or so ago, and while he leads the polls on the left side his position is unusually weak among the electorate. He has already seduced the leadership of several Nueva Mayoria parties, but it's far from certain he'd win a primary.

Senator Isabel Allende (PS): Daughter of Salvador Allende, the Senator took over the Partido Socialista a couple of years ago as Chairman in an attempt to raise her profile and become one of the contenders. So far it hasn't worked, because she hasn't managed to be percieved as taking strong and public stances on the issues. Indeed, most of the PS parlamentarians are taking Lagos's side and not her, so it's becoming doubtful she'll find enough support to bother with a run.

Senator Alejandro Guiller (PRSD): The unexpected darkhorse. Guiller used to be a popular and well regarder TV journalist who ran for Senate as an independent backed by the Radicals and won. While he hasn't had a large profile until this year, he's unexpectedly surged as he's viewed as a "principled outsider", and his campaigning in the municipals led the PRSD to some of its best results ever. Indeed, polls show him as the most competitive Nueva Mayoria candidate, and he seems to be Lagos's main threat.

Deputy Jorge Tarud (PPD): Tarud's a non-starter. A veteran parlamentarian and well regarded on his native Maule region, Tarud is better known as a foreign policy wonk with a penchant for making incendiary comments about Bolivia and Peru, and you can find him from time to time on TV attacking both countries rather fiercely. He's one of the few who's actually announced that he will run, but don't expect him to get far.

Former OAS Chairman Jose Miguel Insulza (PS): A former Interior Minister (Lagos's right-hand man), his moment to run was in 2009 and he knows it. Still, he remains a possibility given his profile of a tough and effective operator, although a run from him would be pointless if Lagos indeed runs as they share the same electorate.

Senator Ignacio Walker (DC)Sad The Christian Democrats are rather unhappy about the current government, believing it has gone too far to the left. Their loathing of the communists also doesn't help. So the DC is divided in two sides: The old guard, with former Interior Minister Jorge Burgos seems to be of the opinion that they need to back Lagos and secure a large amount of influence on a moderate government of his. Senator Walker and a different side believe the DC has to field their own candidate on a primary or a first round to gain more leverage, and Walker is promoting himself as that candidate.

Mayor Daniel Jadue (PC): Strictly speaking, no one knows what the PC will do. Some say they will remain on a broad center-left coalition and might even back Lagos, others say that they will turn back to the left and away from Nueva Mayoria. In any case, Mayor Jadue (who won in an upset in 2012 and has proved very popular due to several of his proposals) has expressed interest in a run, even if the party leadership went out of their way to deny that this was a possibility. So who knows?

Chile Vamos:
(UDI, RN, PRI, Evopoli - The main opposition, center-right to right coalition)

Former President Sebastian Piñera (Ind)Sad Despite leaving office as an unpopular President with his coalition crushed at the election, Piñera has ironically turned into the trump card of the opposition. With Bachelet's government reaching higher levels of unpopularity than ever thought possible Piñera's administration looks better with hindsight (particularly his handling of the economy), and for whatever reason the corruption scandals on the right don't seem to have hit him. Indeed, the man leads all the polls ever since Lagos forced an early start of the race. Officially Piñera will not decide until March and campaigned at the municipals just out of helping Chile Vamos, but yeah, everybody knows he wants a comeback. After his triumph yesterday (having heavily campaigned for many winners), expect him to be the man to beat.

Senator Manuel Jose Ossandon (Ind): Ossandon's a bit of an odd man. A persistent critic of Piñera, popular Mayor and the champion of the social-christian right, his term as a Senator has defined him further as a maverick, who left RN in protest for what he believes is a Pro-Piñera bias. So he'll run for sure in the primaries, perhaps even in the first round if he believes he's been treated unfairly.

Deputy Jose Antonio Kast (Ind): Kast is to UDI what Ossandon is to RN, having left the party in protest... for not being right-wing enough. Yeah, Kast believes the pro-Pinochet party ought to be a bit less moderate. So he's gathering signatures to actually go to the first round, and it looks like he might actually accomplish it.

Senator Alberto Espina (RN) / Senator Francisco Chahuan (RN): I put both on the same category as they're pretty similar in views, both loyal party men of RN and aspiring contenders to be the party's nominee in the primaries. I won't judge to their chances if the primary is an open one, but if Piñera runs expect many RN votes to just turn to him and leave Espina or Chahuan (Espina has announced, Chahuan is a likely one) with minor levels of support.

UDI: The Union Democrata Independiente is the clearest sign of how bizarre Chilean politics can be. Despite being the party that was hit the most by corruption scandals with several of its historical leaders (and presidential candiates) paraded across a courtroom, the party still was the largest one at the municipal election despite losing many votes, scoring most of the more symbolic victories. On the other hand, they simply don't have a figure with enough standing to run (the opposite of 2013, where they went through three heavy-weights). Some point to archconservative former Mayor Francisco de la Maza, some to the very young Deputy Jaime Bellolio, and some believe they should back Piñera outright.

Deputy Felipe Kast (Evopoli)Sad Evopoli is one of the two parties who split from RN (the other being Amplitud) and it aspires to represent the liberal center-right. To some degree it was succesful in garnering some 3% of the vote at the municipals (in Counciliors), but it just doesn't have a lot of leverage. Felipe Kast aims to run to position the party, but again, don't expect him to do particularly well.

PRO
(The Partido Progresista, a splinter from the old Concertacion and Ominami's cult of personality party)

Former Deputy Marco Enriquez-Ominami: Ominami did history by running in 2009 as a center-left candidate who repudiated the Concertacion, and heavily damaged Eduardo Frei in the first round. He founded his own party to run in 2013... and got half the votes. At some point in 2015 with Bachelet's government sinking fast it looked like the left would have to run to Ominami as their savior, until he was involved in the corruption scandals as well. He still registers some support in the polls and has announced he will run, but he's dropped like a rock from his standing a few months ago.

Sentido Futuro:
(Ciudadanos + Amplitud - A new centrist formation, with liberal undertones)

Unknown: Ciudadanos is a centrist party born from dissafected Concertacion supporters of Andres Velasco, whereas Amplitud is a center-right liberal party born out of the liberal wing of RN and led by Senator Lily Perez. They didn't do very well at the municipals (1% of the vote more or less), and both Perez and Velasco eye runs for the Senate, so one has to wonder what exactly will happen with this coalition. There are some supporters of Piñera here, but it's tough to say that would happen in a Piñera-Lagos or Piñera-Guiller race.

Frente Amplio?

Unknown: This is pure speculation, but there is a push among the non-Nueva Mayoria left to form a large coalition of left-wing parties to contest the election with a presidential candidate. Personally, I think this option is a lot more likely after the municipal results (which showed splitting the vote will not lead to good results), but it's impossible to tell. Plus, all the high-profile figures seem to come from the student movement, all too young to run.

Independent, Other:

Businessman Leonardo Farkas: A highly eccentric billionaire and philantropist, Farkas returned to Chile in 2007-2008 and took the country by storm, quickly becoming a possible candidate for 2009, although he declined. Ever popular, there's signs that point he could be considering a run, and he always registers at least 1-2% in the polls in the open questions. No way to predict how a run of his would look, but it does look like an election in which like a character like him could do well.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 09:40:41 pm by Lumine »Logged
Lumine
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2016, 10:13:27 am »

Opinion Polls:
(I'll be registering them as they go, starting with the closest to the Municipal Election)

Plaza Publica Cadem, October 24th:

Bachelet Approval: 22%/68%

Voting Intention: Piñera 23%, Lagos 7%, Guiller 7%, Ominami 5%, Ossandon 3%, Farkas 2%, Allende 1%, Others 8%, None/Wouldn't Vote 47%

Who do you think the next President will be: Piñera 36%, Lagos 14%, Guiller 5%, Ossandon 2%, Farkas 2%, Ominami 1%, Allende 1%, None/Wouldn't Vote 36%
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2016, 10:22:22 am »

Jesus, the contrast between Bachelet I and Bachelet II is intense. Is the economy doing that badly?
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2016, 10:35:00 am »

Jesus, the contrast between Bachelet I and Bachelet II is intense. Is the economy doing that badly?

Yes and no. Strictly speaking growth has significantly decreased (from 5% or so under Piñera to 2% or so under Bachelet) and the Government has been forced to take a more conservative approach to spending (defined by the Finance Minister as "ete gobierno no es de billetera facil"). Add to that that the price of copper is going down, that unemployment is percieved to be higher under Bachelet and that the tax reform of the government failed to inspire much confidence and you have a clear perception of the economy doing badly.

Alas, it is not the economy that sunk Bachelet. I'll do an explanatory write-up later, but the fact is that at the start of 2015 Bachelet's son Sebastian Davalos (who had a position in La Moneda as some sort of "socio-cultural advisor", sort of a First Lady or First Gentleman equivalent) was involved in the Caval scandal, in which he and his wife adquired some terrains in a shady deal that involved a few obscure loans, leading to a full investigation and corruption charges. Bachelet was not involved, of course, but her personal image utterly collapsed in a matter of weeks.

And furthermore, the political incompetence of the Government has dwarfed Piñera's own failures in 2011 and 2012, leading Bachelet to fire two Interior Ministers and seeing several Ministers resign in less than ideal conditions (one of them, set to be the Government's official spokesman, lasted about a month before his integrity was put into question and he was forced to resign). Bachelet deeply believes her educational, tax, constitutional and union reforms are the best for the country, but the Nueva Mayoria parties are heavily divided in those and the Government's already chronic unpopularity has dragged the reforms down. Whereas the tax and educational reform had substantial majority backing in 2014, they are now rather unpopular.

So while Piñera had to struggle with approval ratings in the low thirties and high twenties that made governing difficult, Bachelet has had to deal with her popularity in the low twenties and high tens. Indeed, the last poll showing her at 22% is actually an improvement for her. By opinion polls she has become literally the most unpopular President since democracy returned, surpassing Piñera at his worst moments (and he was pretty damn unpopular at one point, which is why his political revival is so fascinating).

EDIT: Indeed, at one poll in August her approval rating reached 15%.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 10:43:29 am by Vice President Lumine »Logged
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2016, 11:02:30 am »

Lagos will be 79 in 2017.

Btw, what's the deal with former Latin American Presidents being so prone to run for non consecutive terms if allowed? Just from the bottom of my head: Bachelet, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Alan Garcia, Carlos Menem, Rodrigo Borja, Alejandro Toledo, etc. etc. (with some like Itamar Franco plotting to run in every subsequent presidential election after his term, and Lula being a possible candidate in 2018).

Just do what Mexico did: you get six years and after that be gone.
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2016, 11:06:33 am »

Lagos will be 79 in 2017.

Btw, what's the deal with former Latin American Presidents being so prone to run for non consecutive terms if allowed? Just from the bottom of my head: Bachelet, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Alan Garcia, Carlos Menem, Rodrigo Borja, Alejandro Toledo, etc. etc. (with some like Itamar Franco plotting to run in every subsequent presidential election after his term, and Lula being a possible candidate in 2018).

Just do what Mexico did: you get six years and after that be gone.

You try telling Lagos he's too old, he certainly doesn't look at it that way (and believe it or not, no one has made an issue of his age or health). But to the question, it's because Latin American politics are personality based more than they are ideological, always related to the idea of the "caudillo", the political leader. You can see it in Chile, where many political parties can be separated more by style, personalities and rhetoric rather than ideology or policies.

Aylwin never ran again because his term was more than enough for him, but Frei ran again (and lost), Bachelet ran again (and won), and it seems all but certain Piñera and Lagos will go for it too.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 12:43:21 pm by Vice President Lumine »Logged
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2016, 12:23:44 pm »

Pero mi pais ya necesita poder de la gente... Chile no se queda atras, nuestra mejor opportunidad...

Any chance of Parisi getting back into the mix? Mainly cos that jingle was stellar.
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2016, 12:41:12 pm »

Pero mi pais ya necesita poder de la gente... Chile no se queda atras, nuestra mejor opportunidad...

Any chance of Parisi getting back into the mix? Mainly cos that jingle was stellar.

Well, the man did express interest in running again. Alas, he was fired from two different universities in the United States after being accused of sexual harassment, so... it's a bit doubtful we'll be hearing "el poder de la gente" once again.
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2016, 12:54:38 pm »

October 24th:

  • Speculation abounds that a substantial cabinet reshuffle might be in the cards after the electoral results. A few days ago Bachelet was forced to fire the Justice Minister, with the Energy Minister and the National Assets Minister resigning (Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco doing so to chair Lagos's campaign), with the move criticized from Nueva Mayoria for not being deep enough. It seems Bachelet may be forced to sack some of the key Ministers after all.
  • Seen as one of the few Nueva Mayoria winners by helping increase the share of the vote of the PRSD (from 5% to 7% or so), Senator Alejandro Guiller described the high abstention as "a catastrophe for democracy", and stated that the Nueva Mayoria had to consider whether it should continue to go on or whether it would change or be replaced. Guiller also noted that he was "willing to participate" on the Presidential Election, but would not confirm a run.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 12:56:15 pm by Vice President Lumine »Logged
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2016, 01:03:18 pm »

Very interesting!  Lumine, do you think that the recent center-right wave across South America also had an impact in Chile's local results? And that could also have an impact in 2017 presidential election?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 01:05:20 pm by Mike88 »Logged
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2016, 01:11:22 pm »

Very interesting!  Lumine, do you think that the recent center-right wave across South America also had an impact in Chile's local results? And that could also have an impact in 2017 presidential election?

I wouldn't say it had a role on the local elections themselves, but overall and in public discourse it does play a role. Many in the right, and particularly the more liberal right were very much encouraged by the Macri and PPK victories in Argentina and Perú, although more important than that is the negative perception some of the left-wing governments in Latin America have caused. Indeed, there has been a decent amount of debate between the left and the right over Brazil and particularly over Venezuela.

Whether it will do so on the presidential depends greatly on whether Bachelet's standing recovers or not and where the non Nueva Mayoria left stands, but I can say that Chile Vamos now believes they can actually win the presidential race. That was NOT the case a few weeks ago, and examples like Argentina combined with these results are probably a much needed boost of confidence.
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2016, 08:17:20 pm »

A scenario between Lagos and Piñera is just so sad to me, it's very painful to watch the political process right now in the country, specially from the left. Although I think this is Piñera's election to lose, the Nueva Mayoria is close to dead (the only thing that unify them is they have too many people dependent on government jobs) and all UDI leaders know that he is the only one from the right that can win (maybe Ossandon, but I think that once he starts to speak, his unfavorability will increase), despite they hate Piñera.

Although the economy is not in its best shape (last year's growth was 2.3% and the forecast for 2016 is 1.7%), Bachelet's disapproval is mainly explained by the government scandals, specially the Caval scandal. Lumine what do you think about this case? I think this really killed Bachelet politically, and since then, she is just waiting for the end of her government.

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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2016, 09:02:49 pm »

A scenario between Lagos and Piñera is just so sad to me, it's very painful to watch the political process right now in the country, specially from the left. Although I think this is Piñera's election to lose, the Nueva Mayoria is close to dead (the only thing that unify them is they have too many people dependent on government jobs) and all UDI leaders know that he is the only one from the right that can win (maybe Ossandon, but I think that once he starts to speak, his unfavorability will increase), despite they hate Piñera.

Although the economy is not in its best shape (last year's growth was 2.3% and the forecast for 2016 is 1.7%), Bachelet's disapproval is mainly explained by the government scandals, specially the Caval scandal. Lumine what do you think about this case? I think this really killed Bachelet politically, and since then, she is just waiting for the end of her government.

Well, for all the talk of renovation in politics Piñera and Lagos are not only leading inside parties, but on the polls. You truly have an entire missed generation of politicians who simply couldn't break through and become the voices of the future, so in a way it is less than ideal to see that happening. On the other hand, when I look at the other center-right candidates I don't see much to be convinced that they would be better than Piñera. I have a lot of sympathy and support for, say, Espina or Chahuan or Kast (Evopoli), but I can't seem them as president. I have to agree with you on Ossandon, I used to like the man, but he's too much of a loose canon to stand a real chance.

But I can see where it might be depressing for the left. It is sad enough that the right still hasn't reinvented itself and abandoned some of the darkest parts of their past (something I've wanted for a long time), but the collapse of Nueva Mayoria must be truly painful from the inside. I truly expected the Chilean left to dominate politics for a while in late 2014, so to see the current situation is a bit of a shock. While I certainly disapprove of the government's economic policy (although I have a soft spot for Rodrigo Valdes), I also think it was Caval that in the end killed Bachelet. The strongest weapon she ever had was the fact that she could connect with people, and that people trusted and liked her on a personal level. And that was ended in a second by the scandal.

Bachelet's current term, whether one is from the left of the right, has many aspects of a tragedy. The President seems truly convinced her reforms are for the best, and yet her government has been dead, buried and basically irrelevant for more than a year now. I don't feel sorry for a second for Nueva Mayoria, but there are times in which I do feel sorry for Bachelet at a personal level.
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2016, 11:58:18 am »

October 25th:

  • Despite the Municipal results not being all that bad, Nueva Mayoria seems to have entered a bit of a panic mode. PR Chairman Ernesto Velasco and DC Chairman Carolina Goic blame the Government for the electoral results, and cast further doubt into a Lagos campaign by criticizing his approach and his viability as a contender. Bachelet is resisting another cabinet reshuffle, but the Nueva Mayoria parties are really angry at the Government.
  • Furthermore, the Christian Democrats have openly called for sharp changes in the Government, suspending participation on a few meetings with the cabinet and other parties and calling for an emergency meeting on Thursday. Senator Walker denies talk of a "revolt" against Bachelet, but speculation suggests this might push DC to run a candidate of their own, possibly Senators Walker or Goic.
  • Senator Manuel Jose Ossandon claims to have the 35,000 signatures to enter the first round of the presidential election, and leaves it open whether to run in the Chile Vamos primaries or run as an independent. Piñera, in the meantime, continues to rise as the more likely candidate of the opposition, and has invited the leadership of Chile Vamos to a meeting to analyse the Municipal results.
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2016, 01:20:11 pm »

This question may be a bit off topic, but i think it's interesting. Why did turnout in Chilean elections collapsed after the end of the mandatory vote?
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« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2016, 06:08:26 pm »

This question may be a bit off topic, but i think it's interesting. Why did turnout in Chilean elections collapsed after the end of the mandatory vote?
I think there is two reasons:

1. The main reason is that people don't care to vote. When it was mandatory many people didn't wanted to vote but they registered during the 90's when the we had a lot of enthusiasm because of the return to democracy, but people increasingly started to distrust political institutions and many don't even care about participating in politics. This is just anecdotal, but my girlfriend is from Providencia, and she liked Josefa Errazuriz a lot but didn't vote on sunday because she had to do other things and though it was too much effort to vote (to me that is just terrible) and my best friend recently moved with his girlfriend, and he told me that he wasn't interested in going to his old commune to vote for mayor and council. People are lazy.

2. Another reason that is increasingly important is that we have issues with the electoral roll and contains many people that are dead. This underestimate the turnout.  
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 06:14:30 pm by seb_pard »Logged

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« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2016, 06:14:04 pm »

Has Bachelet managed to get any notable reform passed, or has she basically been a lame duck all through her term?
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2016, 10:48:45 pm »

Has Bachelet managed to get any notable reform passed, or has she basically been a lame duck all through her term?

Oh, she most certainly did. 2014 was the key year, with Bachelet passing a tax reform law (which earned the ire of many small businessmen and economic groups, leading to negotiations with DC and Chile Vamos that watered it down a bit) and the decisive educational reforms, which created an odd scheme to make university free on a gradual basis among other things. Plus she also started a process to change the constitution, although so far not much has been advanced and the real decisions will be taken under the next President.

The more relevant ones in electoral terms though are a voting reform, which ends the binomial system to elect Congress, increases the Senate from 38 to 50 and the Deputies from 120 to 150 and moves onto a D'Hondt proportional system awarding seats in districts that elect several officeholders. Add to that a reform to directly elect "Governors" for each region, although the current project gives them little power (a delegate from the government would be the one actually ruling the region).

So yeah, despite all Bachelet has passed substantial reforms on many areas before seeing her approvals collapse. I do like the change to the electoral system despite a ridiculous provision which forces 40% of candidates to be women, and I do think having a new constitution is actually a good idea (although what that constitution should contain is the main issue), but I have to admit I abhor Bachelet's reforms on tax, the economy, and particularly the educational system.

That was sometime ago, though. Last week she attempted to get an emergency bill to solve a scandal within the electoral service (SERVEL) which left many voters assigned to districts in which they didn't live, and she simply didn't had enough influence for parties (even the Nueva Mayoria ones) to bother supporting it. So at this point I really don't think she can get much passed even with her parliamentary majority.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 10:50:33 pm by Vice President Lumine »Logged
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2016, 01:22:06 pm »

October 26th:

  • Bachelet finally appears to have relented on changing the cabinet, with the Government's spokesperson Marcelo Diaz confirming in an interview that there will be changes announced very soon. Rumor has it Labor Minister Ximena Rincon has offered her resignation in protest of the way the union reforms have been handled (something her team has denied), and some believe Jose Miguel Insulza is to land at La Moneda to rescue the Government from a leading portfolio.
  • Prominent Christian Democrats continue to redouble their attacks on Bachelet's approach, with old guard leader Gutemberg Martinez joining the fray. Bachelet loyalists like Senator Jorge Pizarro criticize this approach, and suggest talk of DC leaving Nueva Mayoria is ridiculous.
  • Despite all party leaders continuing to back the concept of a presidential primary for Chile Vamos, the concept seems to be falling apart as Piñera grows more and more consolidated. Former Presidential candidate Evelyn Matthei (triumphantly elected Mayor of Providencia) has offered her tentative support, and UDI seems to be leaning more and more towards backing Piñera instead of running a candidate of their own. Depending on the RN and UDI Leadership elections on November-December, we might see Piñera being accepted as the inevitable nominee, Kast (the ex-UDI one) and Ossandon running in the first round as dissident candidates.
  • MAS Senator and Nueva Mayoria renegade Alejandro Navarro presents a constitutional reform project to lower the age requirements for the presidency to 30 years, in hope of allowing some of the student movement leaders to run for the presidency next year or in 2020. It remains to be seen what will happen here.
  • The blow Lagos has been dealt at the Municipal Election continues to raise doubt on his chances. Not only is Senator Isabel Allende looking a bit stronger, but there is talk of constitutional law expert and political analyst Fernando Atria as a possible PS candidate that could signal a sharp turn to the left (Atria believes in a constituent assembly to change the Constitution, and appears to be a Jeremy Corbyn admirer seeking to replicate his model).
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2016, 02:30:49 pm »

Has Bachelet managed to get any notable reform passed, or has she basically been a lame duck all through her term?

Oh, she most certainly did. 2014 was the key year, with Bachelet passing a tax reform law (which earned the ire of many small businessmen and economic groups, leading to negotiations with DC and Chile Vamos that watered it down a bit) and the decisive educational reforms, which created an odd scheme to make university free on a gradual basis among other things. Plus she also started a process to change the constitution, although so far not much has been advanced and the real decisions will be taken under the next President.

The more relevant ones in electoral terms though are a voting reform, which ends the binomial system to elect Congress, increases the Senate from 38 to 50 and the Deputies from 120 to 150 and moves onto a D'Hondt proportional system awarding seats in districts that elect several officeholders. Add to that a reform to directly elect "Governors" for each region, although the current project gives them little power (a delegate from the government would be the one actually ruling the region).

So yeah, despite all Bachelet has passed substantial reforms on many areas before seeing her approvals collapse. I do like the change to the electoral system despite a ridiculous provision which forces 40% of candidates to be women, and I do think having a new constitution is actually a good idea (although what that constitution should contain is the main issue), but I have to admit I abhor Bachelet's reforms on tax, the economy, and particularly the educational system.

That all sounds pretty great to me. I'd be curious to know more about the tax and education reforms, but both of them sound like major progressive victories. The electoral reform is also glorious news, hopefully it will finally end gridlock. I'd much rather have an unpopular President that achieves significant positive change than a popular do-nothing one.

So, it seems like Nueva Mayoria is in serious trouble for this election, but they should get their act back together by 2021, right?
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« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2016, 01:57:51 pm »

If she got all this done, why is she unpopular?
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« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2016, 01:25:41 pm »

Opinion Poll:

CERC-Mori, October 27th:

Bachelet Approval: 26%/65%

Voting Intention: Piñera 19%, Guiller 11%, Lagos 9%, Allende 8%, Ominami 4%, Ossandon 4%, Insulza 2%, Walker 1%, Undecided 41%

Who do you think the next President will be: Piñera 24%, Lagos 10%, Guiller 4%, Ominami 1%, Other/None 61%

Piñera-Lagos race: Piñera 28%, Lagos 23%, Undecided 49%

Piñera-Guiller race: Guiller 28%, Piñera 26%, Undecided 46%

Politicians with a more promising future: Piñera 20%, Lagos 13%, Guiller 11%, Ominami 9%, Jackson 7%

Voting Intention (Parliamentary): RN 7%, Other 6%, PS 5%, DC 3%, PPD 2%, UDI 2%, None 24%, Undecided 36%
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« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2016, 01:29:41 pm »

If she got all this done, why is she unpopular?

For the reasons Lumine explained at great length a few posts above.
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« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2016, 01:35:28 pm »

October 27-28th:

  • Bachelet removes 7 undersecretaries from the ministries, and confirms that there will be a cabinet reshuffle on November. That said, Bachelet justifies this with the excuse that ministers who leave may be doing so to compete in the parliamentary election, and refuses the interpretation that the Government ought to be blamed by the Municipal results.
  • The Christian Democrats confirm they will support the Government until the end of the term, they have frozen their relationship with La Moneda and removed themselves from several instances of debate inside the coalition. The DC Leadership seems to be preparing a government programme and in talks to consider a new coalition to replace Nueva Mayoria, and the idea of proclaiming a DC presidential candidate in January takes strength.
  • Chile Vamos's leaders (particularly the RN leadership) continue talks with Senator Ossandon, hoping to persuade him to contest the primary with Piñera rather than go all the way to the first round. Ossandon seems open to the idea at least, amidst fears that UDI might not run a candidate and that Felipe Kast (Evopoli) would be too weak a contender, making the primaries a formality.
  • Alejandro Navarro's proposal to lower the age to serve as President seems to have been dealt a heavy blow as former student leader and current deputy Giorgio Jackson (Revolucion Democratica) rejects the idea, suggesting it's far from a priority and that it would be counterproductive to make said change shortly before the presidential election.
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« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2016, 02:00:56 pm »

That all sounds pretty great to me. I'd be curious to know more about the tax and education reforms, but both of them sound like major progressive victories. Th
e electoral reform is also glorious news, hopefully it will finally end gridlock. I'd much rather have an unpopular President that achieves significant positive change than a popular do-nothing one.

So, it seems like Nueva Mayoria is in serious trouble for this election, but they should get their act back together by 2021, right?

Eh, I wouldn't really call them all that progressive. Bachelet's tax reform was basically a significant series of tax raises across the board, with a particular focus on corporate taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes, with Bachelet and the Nueva Mayoria promising all the way this would raise enough money to support their election pledge to make college education free after the student movement's demands. Several economists, Chile Vamos, and even sectors of DC inside the government warned the reforms combined with the economic climate would probably do more harm, and sure enough, the growth forecasts of the Government proved to be very, very wrong.

Indeed, the Government itself admitted it after firing Finance Minister Arenas to replace him with the more moderate and relatively fiscally conservative Rodrigo Valdes, with La Moneda stating it would not have enough money for several of its promised pledges. An example of this was scaling back the college proposals from making it free to just 70% of students, then only 60%, and so on. It is in doubt whether current levels can even be afforded long term. Which leads us to the education reforms, which tackle two main issues:

1.- Chile has three types of schools: Public (which are rather awful), semi-private (which are private or religious, but receive a degree of public financing) and the fully private ones. As a general rule, the more private they are the better quality they have, with the semi-private schools being the ones having about 60% of students in the country (I studied at one of those, a catholic school which was made affordable for middle class students through those subsides). The reform decided to focus on public education fully, ending the entire subsidy scheme so schools would only be private or public (and most will turn private), and eliminating the prerogative to select students (thus forcing schools to basically just accept them with few to none requisites). This I loathe because it basically kills the schools that were actually doing a good job, forcing students into public schools that don't work and offer poor quality of education for the sake of "social equality" rhetoric. There are also some reforms into the courses, which eliminate philosophy and reduce history, among other choices.

2.- The university dilemma. Ever since Nueva Mayoria decided to turn populist to try and win the protest vote and the supporters of the student movement, a key pledge was to pursue free schooling in universities, a policy which has been introduced gradually and slowed down significantly once it was clear there just weren't enough resources to actually pay for the scheme. This one has the virtue to draw ire from both the right and the non Nueva Mayoria left. The right because they don't believe we ought to be wasting so many resources for the sake of, again, rhetoric, and the left because they want fully free schooling now along with an end to grants and scholarships, at times basing this is saying that all we need to do is direct the gains from copper to the education budget or gutting the armed forces to obtain the resources.

Reforms such as these use progressive rhetoric indeed, and I can see why some people think the reforms are for the best of country. But to me personally (and I am a very biased person, that I cannot deny), they are ill-thought populist measures which will do little but inflict serious harm on our educational future while placing undue strain on the budget. Add to that that the Government has been awful at trying to sell the reforms and drive them through Congress (and they have passed solely on the fact that Nueva Mayoria has a clear majority), and the fact that Bachelet is closely identified with her reforms as her project, and there is a reason why many people have turned against them.

That said, I am happy that we changed the electoral system. I have serious misgivings about some parts of that change (because again, I dislike the idea of making it mandatory that 40% of candidates must be women), but a more proportional system is a welcomed plus, and a way to make our politics more diverse and less static.
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