Saturday, December 24, 2011

Electoral reform in Chile

So what happens when you suddenly enfranchise millions of people, many of whom have not felt connected to the political system? With passage of automatic registration and voluntary voting, Chile will find out. I wrote about some of the background here.

So what does this mean for the next presidential election? My immediate thought is that this puts Michelle Bachelet in a good position. She has said nothing, but rumors are rampant about her running again (in Chile, you can serve two terms but not consecutively). The two coalitions are unpopular but she left office with a high approval rating and can attract many of those new voters. The sticky part is her establishment status, which as I've argued elsewhere can be problematic.

Regardless, this is good for Chilean democracy. Make it as easy as possible for people to participate but don't punish them if they decide not to.


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