The Quality Of Contemporary Chilean Democracy

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On October 5, 1988 the course of Chile drastically changed. No longer were the inhabitants of Chile subjected to a vicious dictatorship governed by General Augusto Pinochet. His defeat in the 1988 plebiscite spurred a transition back to democracy. The first presidential election was held in 1990 and the winner, Patricio Alywin, undertook a series of measures aimed at strengthening the country’s democracy. Despite Chile’s improvements, representation of grassroots organizations, women, and mass sectors of society has remained limited. A successful democracy provides equal opportunities and resources for all citizens to be heard and represented in their government. The needs and desires of the people are taken under consideration and…show more content…
These authors argue that because Pinochet still had considerable power and used it to influence policy making decisions political elites were less likely to meet the demands of the public. Pinochet established a binomial electoral system that as a result influenced political parties to form pacts or party coalitions. Posner (1999) and Hunneus (2007) argue that because political parties formed party coalitions there was a lack of representation. Political parties spend an abundant amount of time on negotiations within the party coalitions. Because the political elites only negotiated among themselves, they took away the public’s ability to have a say on important issues. Pinochet also manipulated the Supreme Court. Elin Skaar (2011) contends that the Judiciary was not an independent branch of government. The Supreme Court was filled with “Pinochet-friendly” judges that were in favored of his dictatorship. Huneeus (2007) agrees by stating that before he left office, Pinochet had appointed most of the justices within the Supreme Court thus making any legislation against Pinochet unlikely to be passed. Because of this, political elites were not able to make the necessary policies changes that the population desired thus causing a lack of representation. A final major policy change Pinochet made was the neoliberal economic model. Scholars Lois Oppenheim (2007)
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