1673784387 Boric does not fall in love with Chile 10 months

Boric does not fall in love with Chile 10 months after arriving in La Moneda

Chilean President Gabriel Boric greets his supporters at the Limache train station in the Valparaíso region.Chilean President Gabriel Boric greets his supporters at the Limache train station in the Valparaíso region. DPA via Europa Press (DPA via Europa Press)

Chilean President Gabriel Boric became one of the youngest presidents in the world in March at the age of 36. But the left-wing politician’s international star, who shines alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, does not have the same brilliance within his country’s borders. Ten months into his government, he has very high rejection rates. According to pollster Cadem, it reaches 70%. According to the Center for Public Studies, it is 61%. The biggest earthquake for his project came in September, when the public largely rejected his administration’s backed proposal for a new constitution and since then the path the president will take to continue navigating Chile’s troubled waters in perpetual flux after the social outburst of 2019.

“There is a cumulative effect. The country is receiving the most complex terms than any other president in recent decades,” analyzes Roberto Izikson of pollster Cadem. It points to “the impact of the outbreak, the pandemic, the economic crisis, inflation, the increased perception of crime, the conflict in La Araucanía”. [en la zona mapuche] and the uncertainty caused by the referendum” last September, where 62% preferred to reject the transformative text drafted by a convention. Izikson lists other milestones at this complex facility. “Boric bet on his generation when forming his first cabinet and very quickly the lack of government experience was felt, which ended with the departure of Izkia Siches from inside,” adds the pollster, who identifies four main reasons for the Chileans’ disapproval of management: delinquency, perceived lack of experience, constant change of mind and inflation (12.8% per year, the highest level in 30 years).

A key issue was crime, which the Center for Public Studies says is the top priority for Chileans, well above other important issues like pensions, health and education. Izikson says the government didn’t prioritize public order until after September’s referendum, but then, on December 30, the president pardoned 13 convicted of various crimes, 12 of them for events that took place during the social outbreak of took place in 2019. “People are afraid and have not seen that the government has consistently addressed the problem. The pardons are a bit of a blur over the past four months and we will see the impact,” says pollster Cadem, who estimates that “reversing this trend of disapproval will be difficult because years two and three of governments these are more negative” in four-year periods, as in Chile. However, observe a way out: “Boric must define a roadmap and stick to it. It will be very costly for him to change his mind so often.”

Political scientist Claudia Heiss assures that the president had a complex entry “due to external factors and internal mistakes” and that he is going through “a difficult moment” due to the pardon crisis, a process that Boric himself described as “chaotic”. . He paid for it with the Overthrow of his justice minister and chief of staff, both from the Approve Dignity coalition, Boric’s original Broad Front-Communist Party coalition Since September’s referendum, another pro-government force, that of Democratic Socialism, the moderate left, has taken over gained importance.

“I think things should settle down,” adds Heiss, who believes it is important for Chile to lead a new constituent process. “It’s in the hands of the political parties to build dialogues and advance the agendas of social issues and reforms like taxes and pensions,” says the head of the political science program at the Faculty of Government at the University of Chile. Regarding the rejection, Heiss says that “the high expectations of the supporters could not be met”, especially on the part of the Approve Dignity coalition. “There are neither the votes in Congress nor the new constitution that would have allowed for more robust progress. There is uneasiness,” says the scientist.

Right in the middle is the economic situation: an unprecedented increase in the cost of living for Chileans in the last three decades and a recession in 2023. “The government has implemented austerity policies that are greater than Sebastián Piñera’s, although this is obviously in a different context. He has used extremely responsible tax spending to curb inflation,” says Heiss, who warns that inflation has lessened the impact of minimum wage increases and other welfare measures. Regarding the exit scenarios at this complex moment, the political scientist believes that Chile “came from an epic, historical illusion, from the breakout and from the constitutive process, so it will be difficult to go back there,” although she charts the government’s path in Considering “right” : “Moderating expectations and agendas, taking a pragmatic approach to the political program, involving the centre-left and engaging in dialogue with the right would allow some of the urgent reforms to be launched. “

During these 10 months, Boric had to deal with the two pro-government forces: I support dignity and democratic socialism. For Cristián Valdivieso, analyst and founder of the polling company Criteria, the President is “in a tension between these two souls, which are ultimately his own two souls”. On the one hand, “one sector tells him that he comes from social movements, that he won the primaries with Approve Dignity, while the other drive reiterates that he must govern for the whole country, that the referendum result was convincing and that unless he turns to democratic socialism, he cannot continue to rule”. According to Valdivieso, Boric has “signaled both ways” and that “the pardons restore the idea of ​​a president confused between these two souls”.

The analyst recalls that “in Chile, between his victory and his inauguration as president, there was a kind of illusion with Boric, an overvaluation. A young man who came to innovate politics but now faces difficulties in governing”. Valdivieso believes that in order to find a way out, the President “must define his political project more clearly, consistently enforce this decision and organize his entire coalition according to his own definitions”.

Sylvia Eyzaguirre, a researcher at the Center for Public Studies, focuses on a different issue: the low approval and high disapproval of Boric and his government “are presented in a context of great skepticism about the future of the country”. But, in his opinion, in recent days, despite the great complexity, a key event has occurred that “if the government is intelligent, it can take it in its favor”: the constitutional reform to start the new constitutional process with different rules and deadlines earlier. “If it is possible to channel, spark a public debate, reach agreements and reach a text that calls for unity, a good opportunity could be created for the government if it knows how to use it,” analyzes Eyzaguirre. In terms of popularity, the researcher speaks of “the impressive mistakes that have been made”, but evokes that Boric started his government with lower approval ratings than Michelle Bachelet and Piñera, indicating a difficult country to govern. “Citizens are becoming more and more apathetic, apolitical, they feel more suspicious and skeptical. Each new government starts with a lower level of confidence than the previous one,” adds the analyst.

Time is in favor of the government. He has three years and two months left in La Moneda, and after an economically complex 2023 grappling with people’s frustrations, the following two years of lower inflation and higher growth should bring some relief to citizens’ pockets.

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