A few days ago Chile lived through one of the most important moments in its recent history. It is the election of a President who belongs to the right-wing after 20 years of left-centre government. For some, this is a complete disaster and almost the end of Chile in the way as we know it. For others, this moment is a real breakthrough for Chilean people, now that the country will grow faster and better.

Before discussing who is right or who is wrong, if we might say so, we need to discuss why the right wing won the campaign and whether they really won or if the left-centre lost. Both things look exactly the same, but they are not. Sebastian Piñera, the President-elect of Chile, is a billionaire with roots in the middle class. He is very smart in the way that he used this to show that if you work very hard you can achieve anything that you want. The origins of his wealth are a little controversial if not at all.

The other main reason is that the coalition in the government could not hear people’s voices who were asking more participation and renovation of leaders. It was such a problem that left-centre block chose an ex-president to be their candidate. This candidate, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, despite his experience, could not spark people’s faith again. In addition, the left wing was divided among 3 different candidates while for first time the conservatives were united behind Sebastian Piñera. The left wing promised new faces for a future government, but nobody believed them because these politicians have promised that before without fulfilling it.

Piñera showed a strong identification with the idea of change and hope, as Obama in the United States. People wanted to believe, people needed to believe. Furthermore, Piñera’s campaign was cheerful and exciting while the other side’s campaign tried to scare people by saying things such as ”Chile will be sold” and used hate as a mechanism.

This was an awful surprise because the left wing won the election for democracy 20 years ago using the strategy that Piñera used for this election. World is round and now the right wing used left wing strategies. The other mistake was that Piñera looked to the centre in political terms, while Frei turned to the left looking for communist votes. Chile is not a left wing country. Chile is a moderate and centrist country. People believe in a mix between capitalism and social welfare programs. I have to point out that this is my opinion based on the facts. All this could explain why Piñera won, or perhaps why left-centre coalition lost.

For some people, this is a horrible disaster because they believe that Piñera will end the social programs and will privatise the public companies. However, Piñera has been very clear that he will not privatise public firms, but he will implement many changes. The President-elect has promised to keep the social programs and to do them more efficient.

There is no doubt that he will pay more attention to entrepreneurship than public health or education, but he cannot change the whole system with a competitive congress. Chilean democracy has many institutions which make it difficult to change things in one direction or another. This is both good and bad. Nevertheless, this makes the system stable and reliable for private and foreign investment which is necessary for the progress of the country. Once again, this is my opinion.

The Conservatives are very glad, maybe too much. Piñera has shown himself as a liberal in the moral and economical aspects. The more extreme right politicians might be disappointed soon. Piñera supports homosexual rights and this can be an important clash between him and his followers.

In conclusion, the well-developed democracy in Chile makes the system stable and reliable providing guarantees for everyone. Because of this, every Chilean can give their opinion and work hard to build a better society irrespective of their political colour. Viva Chile!

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved

JORGE ROJAS is an engineer and graduate student in economics at the University of Sydney. He is member of the Party for Democracy, a center-left Chilean party upholding liberal and progressive ideas.

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