Juan Andrés Lagos
Nobody predicted the quantity of people that would vote. Neither did anyone project the dimension of votes that Michelle Bachelet would obtain nor the votes that the new coalition New Majority would reach.
“Analists” and “opinion makers”, mounted on a pre-established code and marked by the method of tautology, simply erred along the whole line and strayed far away from the really existing fact.
Beyond the difficulty that, methodologically existed, to predict the recent presidential primary election results, the fact is that they impacted as a complex entropic phenomenon, surprising and hard to explain.
To try to interpret the results of the presidential primary elections, exaggerations are plentiful, from those that appeal to religious metaphors, to those that consider that the outstanding point of the result is in those who did not vote.
An observable fact is that the government and its right wing parties bet that few people would vote, and in that way tried to better control the universe of the hard right-wing votes and in doing so reduced the uncertainty regarding another fact that few consider, and that is that the only candidate of the opposition that captures votes coming from the right, is none other than Michelle Bachelet.
And that fact occurred.
The government´s intent was so evident in such direction, that the Secretary of State Larroulet predicted hours before the elections that only around 800 thousand people would vote.
It was the perfect scenario, because it diminished this way the political and electoral impact of a foreseen defeat, and of a victory of the opposition that stayed within the acceptable margins for the government and its parties.
It is true that in Chile there exists a severe crisis of representation that was expressed in a galloping tendency until Sunday that most citizen do not vote and do not participate in the institutional spaces marked by the binominal electional system and an armored system that avoids breaches that generate changes or transformations coming from the civil society.
That is true, and until the last municipal elections, by means of voluntary vote, the variables before signaled caused that more than sixty percent of the inscribed citizens did not vote.
¿What changed on Sunday?
That what was expressed with force was the process of transformation of the social conscience (phenomenon that is not easily captured and that becomes invisible in a society where the representation of the collective ethos is structured mainly by a media hegemony).
It is a qualitative fact that explains the more than three million votes, and that Bachelet has almost triplicated the two candidates of the right wing.
First step toward a change of the historical tendency that generates important expectations regarding restoring the elections like processes of social and political significance.
Then, what is necessary is to try to explain the causes of the phenomenon, and not its effects.
- There is a process of change of socio-political context; there are dissatisfactions and expectations that begin to visualize the possibility of transformations through mobilization and elections. A positive and qualitative resignification of two essential questions that are founding of the historical cycle that finishes, but that gradually had lost sense and transcendence.
- The voluntary vote, for the first time, showed a variant that should be considered, and it is that, in a socio-political climate of change of political and electoral correlations, with voters that overcome the voting segments considered “hard” voters, the voluntary voting facilitates a qualitative change in the vote. For example, from the right toward the center or the left. A remarkable example of this phenomenon is Venezuela where vote is voluntary and a high index of people vote.
- The false dichotomy between the social and the electoral politics, that it is a construction addressed especially from the hegemonic media system (“opinion” makers included), begins to show its first and big breaches. And even though it was intended to avoid that in these presidential primary elections there existed an interaction between both worlds that finally are one, it happened quantitatively, and in an unsuspected dimension. That is to say, not few mobilized, effectively voted.
- The leadership and charisma of Michelle Bachelet that generates proximity, horizontality, makes sense and syntony with a citizenship that has the need to be represented by people that do not denote authoritarianism, and a permanent invitation for participation and civic construction. Bachelet is in growing form a candidate that expresses and proposes ideas, crucial ideas, and transcendental ones. And this element, very far from being a phenomenic aspect, is essential to explain the result of the recent presidential elections.
- It is, then, a sign of the new historical cycle that is just beginning. –