Sunday, January 17, 2010

Piñera wins in Chile

After twenty relatively successful years, the Concertacion has lost the Presidential elections in Chile and the right will be in power for the first time. There are many reasons why this may be bad news, including the fact that Piñera is a billionaire with a TV program (does Berlusconi ring any bells?) and that a slow down in progressive socio-economic reforms should be expected (in a country where reducing inequality has been difficult). Yet if one wants to be optimistic in these difficult times, there are two facts to remember:

a. This was the final step needed for the consolidation of democracy.

b. This gives the Concertacion a unique opportunity to redefine their agenda and, hopefully, move to a more progressive path.

Will they use the opportunity? And will we see more continuity or change?


maluca said...

I do very much agree and I am happy about your statement on the possible developments of Chile's political future under Piñera,because the French media has shown itself very little concerned about the election's result. Most articles have indeed pointed out the more democratic direction that the right partie had taken lately and the positive effects of neoliberalism (such as the famous trickle-down effect)as an effective motor of Chilian economy and the reduction of poverty...hopefully these French critics will not be too much disappointed in the case that different outcomes may manifest themselves in the future ...
Anna Greissing, France

Simoncito said...

At least the French media reported the election in Chile. Aside from an article in the FT, I saw little or no reporting in the British press or on British television. Perhaps I missed something?

One of the most worrying aspects of Pinera's election victory will be the consequences for inequality. Although poverty rates have fallen under Concertacion, income inequality, measured by the Gini coefficient, remains stubbornly high at around 0.55. The top decile (i.e. top 10%) have a 45% share of total income. I find it hard to believe that Pinera, a great friend of capital, will do anything much to reduce it.

Still, as often happens with Latin American leaders, they can suddenly change their spots once in power. I therefore reserve my judgement on Pinera and will, for the time being, adopt Diego's open and optimistic attitude!