Jenny Pribble looks at the legacy of Patricio Aylwin at The Monkey Cage.
Chile’s first four Concertación administrations (1990-2010) emphasized negotiation and consensus building — and achieved only piecemeal policy reforms. Several studies underscore the failure of these governments to adequately address citizen demands, particularly in the areas of socialpolicy, labor market regulations, human rights abuses, women’s rights, indigenous rights and constitutional design.
I wrote about him in the context of civil-military relations, and my take is similar. Really, any analysis of Aylwin and the Concertación in general has to deal with the tension between wanting to work well with the right (and the military) and making significant reforms to push back against the Pinochet market model.
For those who argue the former, the answer is that piecemeal reforms were all that was possible. The right was resistant and the Concertación could either get a little or get nothing. In the 1990s there was also concern about the military itself being an obstacle with public displays of discontent.
For those who argue the latter, civilian governments didn't push as hard as they could've. Consensus can be useful, but it shouldn't always be the core goal. Why not push harder in some areas?