Saturday, 16 January 2010

Where do things stand?

Less than 24 hours before the polls open, the truth is nobody knows.

Certainly Marta Lagos' poll this week helped, if nothing else, to put a bit of wind in the sails of the poor souls running around the country trying to convince voters of something not even they believe. It is likely, however, that it also put some wind in the sails of the Piñeristas, who for much of the campaign were so self-confident that many had proabably already decamped to Cachagua. The poll will probably force these poor people to wipe the 50 SPF off their bodies, load up the Land Rovers, and return to Santiago.

I suspect, though, that les jeux sont faits -- that Piñera will win by a slim margin. I suspect that what follows will be a month or two of triumphalism, and once in office, a short witch hunt. Then, he will have to veer to the centre, if he is to avoid total social chaos, and it will be business as usual.

For it's part, the Concertación will enter a period of tribal warfare of a violence and intensity to rival Rwanda. The left will split (again) in two or three: a labour-friendly Arratish left; a Lagos-like third way left; and a post-modern, or rather, post-transitional MEOista left. La izquiera no-unida is not worth a mechada at El Liguria. The question is how these forces, in the medium and long term, will reorganize, and whether they will unite with the PDC. Doubt it. That was a freak of nature and history, and there are no ideological, political or policy reasons why they should join up again.

If Frei wins, it will be business as usual for four years, except he has zero leadership, and hardly any support from divided parties and a divided Concertación, plus a strong opposition presence in Congress. Frei will have a bad four years -- with economic growth, yes -- but will have no support internally, and a really, really pissed off right.

It's usually not a good idea to piss off the right.

On the other hand, I have to admit that although Frei has zero charisma, his positive attitude and absolute commitment to the campaign, his hard work, have been really admirable. A whole new meaning to Arbeit Macht Frei.

That's pretty much it I think.

1 comment:

Esteban Szmulewicz said...

I think there's at least one incentive that comes from the presidential second-round electoral system. In order to win the Executive power, and you know what that means in a highly presidential country, any party or coalition has to obtain more than 50% + 1 votes in the first round, or win the second one. As the party system is likely to stay pretty much as it is right now (unless a dramatic change towards proportionality in Congress election) there's no chance either the PDC or any of the centre-left or leftist parties could win the presidency alone. And there relies the incentive to programatically reunite the forces of centre and left.