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A brief comment on the Chilean elections

Israel Dutra (MES-PSOL) – 11.20

The first round of the Chilean election was an important symptom for a broader analysis of Latin America. In the next 10 months, a series of elections must happen on the continent, its results directly influence. Looking at Chile, like that, is looking at the political tendencies in shock, saving the differences that are specific to each country.

Then we will have more elements, dialoguing with our comrades, in a more orderly manner, with our positions. Here comes an initial comment, with my individual impressions.

The error of the polls, a right below expectations. Pinera, former president, millionaire, and candidate of the right came in first place, with 36.6% of the vote. The surveys placed it between 41-45%, which generated a bitter taste for its result. Distant of the dream to win already in the first round, he faces the pro-government candidate, Guiller in an indefinite second round. Guiller, supported by Bachelet, by a coalition led by the PS and the PC (New Majority) added 22, 6%. The investigations and the unilateral thesis of the “conservative wave” were demoralized.

The government coalition has little to celebrate. It was divided into two candidacies, Guiller and Carolina Goic, of the Christian Democrats (5.88%) of the votes. He lost many parliamentary positions and almost lost the vacancy in the second round for Beatriz Sanches, of the Frente Amplio. The policy of “seeking the center” is also another defeated one. The mandate of Bachelet was rejected at the polls as a sign of the crisis of the Chilean regime. A crisis that involves corruption, lack of structural reforms and emptying of popular demands. The big surprise was the Frente Amplio. With almost 21% of the votes, Beatriz Sanches threatened the hegemony of the Concertación, almost moving to an unprecedented second turn against the right. The Frente Amplio elected a Senator and is now the third parliamentary force, jumping from 2 to 21 national deputies. It is strengthened as a political space and announces a new cycle in Chilean institutional life.

FA also demonstrates that the latencies of society can be represented in the political sphere. Many of the student leaders, forged in the revolts that had their high point in 2011, today are part of the command of that victory. Giving name, meaning and program to the streets is a political task that the FA fulfilled successfully. The “Podemos effect” came heavy on the Chilean election. He had already anticipated the victory of Sharp, in 2016, in the town of Valparaíso.

Kast, a ‘Chilean Bolsonaro’,  made almost 8%, a perfomance not negligible, in a country that has very present the trauma of the bloody dictatorship of Pinochet. This also indicates that in times of crisis, the search for extreme exit is elevated at another level of the political debate. Something to keep in mind, because of the retrograde and backward positions of that subject, who came in fourth place.

However Frente Amplio also suffered crises and pressures to moderate its program and democratic criteria for internal decision-making. Just like Spanish, which is mistakenly ugly in relation to Catalonia, much needs to be discussed as part of the new phenomena, but neither can it be content to adopt a radical form for a recycling content of the regime. It is necessary to open a process of constituent rupture to address the demands such as universal public education, the extension of public security coverage, a new political model, a Chile that lives in the streets, a process by students- as in the 2011 uprising – and the movement of workers in defense of social security (No + AFP).

In Brazil, we also need to build a new alternative, outside the old structures, uniting the socialist left with a program of rupture and confrontation.

Israel Dutra is a sociologist and member of the National Directorate of PSOL and the Socialist Left Movement (MES).

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