Friday, March 30, 2007

More on Chilean politics

The Economist offers up a scathing analysis of President Bachelet’s first year, which I think goes a bit over the top.

  • Although rumors of the Concertación’s demise have been more or less permanent, the article claims that since it is the region’s “strongest political coalition,” she may be personally responsible for its disintegration.
  • It blames her for not preparing the public for Transantiago, when in fact it was President Lagos’ project and so at the very least blame should be shared. Thanks to Mike for pointing out this LA Times story on Transantiago.
  • It says “some” want José Antonio Viera-Gallo to become “de facto prime minister.” Using the vague “some” is a cop out.
  • Finally, it really takes her to task for “gesture politics” (like naming a gender balanced cabinet) and naming people “of no great ability.” But the article never talks about the political fight going on in Chile, as discussed in a recent post and comments about the old vs new guard. Year after year, you see mostly the same names and faces at the highest political levels (which can also help explain the corruption scandals bubbling up during the Lagos administration) and so carping could also easily reflect discontent about feeling left out.

Clearly, though, Bachelet is in trouble and knows it, which is why she named people like Viera-Gallo, who has been a major player for years. Her approval rating is under 50%, and 61% lack confidence in her ability to handle a crisis. Having nutcases trash Santiago doesn’t help either.


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