Sunday, 20 September 2009

Contemplating Duckness

In the last few weeks a feeling has set in that the Bachelet government is now, really and truly, winding down. I am not sure if it has reached lame duckhood (duckness?), but there is certainly a duckesque veil falling, like a closing curtain, on the fourth Concertación government.

Inevitably, with the onset of duckinization comes reflection, and the public opinion polls, which consistently give Michelle Bachelet stratospheric approval ratings, inspire analysis on what she did right, much more so than where she may have gone wrong, or at least fallen short.

In today's Mercurio Carlos Peña raises (as usual) an interesting and oxymoronic quality to the Bachelet government. Bachelet's natural inclination towards greater democratization was translated into gobierno ciudadano, and in order to offer some signals of gobierno ciudadano, Bachelet had to reduce the influence of the political parties. Yet in order to govern, to get things done, political parties remain important, so Bachelet required party elites to excercise a great deal of discipline, thereby strengthening, not weakening, the centralising, and ostensibly non-democratic, nature of the parties themselves. How ironic.

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