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An election that reflected the evils of our political system

The Communist Party (PC) finally managed to occupy the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies, led by Karol Cariola. Beyond the symbolism represented by the fact that a militant from this store for the first time occupies the front – and that Cariola herself has said that this ends an “anti-communist veto” -, this election is much less epic than what is intended, and on the other hand it has perfectly summarized the evils that afflict our political system, where in all crudeness the risks of the lack of parliamentary discipline have been revealed, as well as the danger that Congress’s agreements will be subject to this kind of tyranny that minority groups have been exercising for some time.

Very telling of the above is that the new table – which is an amalgam between the PC, the PDG and the DC – managed to win by just one vote, revealing that this election ended up being decided by a handful of “wayward” parliamentarians, independent and members of small parties, and not by direct negotiations between large political blocs, which was the custom in these cases.

Probably the most ominous case of parliamentary indiscipline was seen this time in the deputy Gaspar Rivas, who managed to keep one of the vice presidencies, without prejudice to the fact that there was also a deputy who was absent from the room because neither of the two blocks satisfied his request. . Rivas decided to support the communist letter, even though his party (PDG) was not in favor of that option, which finally earned him his expulsion from the community. Rivas maintained that the Executive – in particular the Minister Secretary General of the Presidency – offered him one of the vice presidencies in exchange for his vote, a version that he later changed, but that was enough for opposition sectors to challenge the table and present a motion of censure, alleging undue interference by the Executive, which will be voted on this Monday.

The existence of these figures who appear willing to give their vote to the highest bidder, without any ideological substance or minimal convictions, deeply damages the image of Congress, but also strongly resents institutional stability, because ultimately the agreements that the main parties can conclude Politicians can become critically subordinated to the whims of these small groups, whose behavior is unpredictable.

For its part, the regrettable role played by the PDG, without any capacity at this point to be able to ensure certainty and discipline of its parliamentarians – after Rivas’s departure it was left with only one female representative – illustrates the consequences it entails for the health of our democracy the excessive proliferation of parties, many of which lack representative political projects. With around twenty communities with parliamentary representation, it is easy to see the governance problems and the difficulties in forging agreements with such a level of atomization. All this only reinforces the notion that it is urgent to advance reforms to our political system, where aspects that had been agreed upon in the last constituent process, such as a minimum threshold of votes to have parliamentary representation or the loss of the seat in case of resignation from the party, would be an important first step, since they would foreseeably discourage “transfuguism” and would allow us to aspire to a system with fewer but stronger parties, which should translate into greater doses of stability.

Part of the debate that has taken place this week has also revolved around the origin of the offers that the Executive made to attract votes in favor of Cariola. The so-called “pirquineo” is a practice commonly used in Congress – something that can be observed even in the most developed democracies – and although aesthetically it does not always look good to citizens, it is the form that governments have. to negotiate political agreements with parliamentarians. If in this case the Executive crossed certain limits – something that has not been confirmed up to now – it must be the parliamentarians themselves who are in charge of clarifying it, but in any case what cannot be reproached is that this time the government tried to provide greater leadership politics, precisely what is criticized was lacking in the Senate election, considering that the table was left in the hands of the opposition. That is to say, he is criticized from one side or the other, which is still striking.

It now remains to be clear how the motion of censure presented by the Republican and Social Christian parties will be voted on tomorrow. In addition to how unprecedented it would be to unseat a table that has only been established for a week, it would be a serious mistake for the opposition to decide to vote in favor of a request of this type. The fact that some denounce that there was an alleged improper intervention by the Executive does not erase the legitimacy of his victory, since the rule is that the presidency is won by whoever gains the most support. If the opposition was not able to organize itself better on the day the new table was voted on, and as a result of its own mistakes it lost this opportunity, trying to win it now through the “secretariat”, alleging censorship without further foundation, in addition to establishing a A bad precedent for the electoral processes would only worsen the spectacle that we already saw this week, and would undoubtedly further strain the political environment.

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