All around the world election results are, lately, slapping the polling firms in their face. The latest case occurred last Sunday, with the presidential primaries in Chile. The pattern is always similar: fatigue with the well-known politicians and a search for new faces. Again, Chile: with the poll favourites coming from the traditional parties smashingly defeated, the two winners for the left and for the right are 35 and 43 years old, respectively.
It would seem to be the “¡Que se vayan todos!” syndrome at work, especially amongst youngsters who are utterly bored and indifferent to classic party machinations. Whatever be, it is interesting to observe how both the Frente de Todos and Juntos por el Cambio have taken notice of this phenomenon, and are out to include in their lists of candidates new, young figures. Of course, the September PASO primaries will be overshadowed by the ‘grieta’ rift between the Kirchneristas and the opposition, but personally I believe that we are in for some surprises all the same.
A worrying aspect of the Chilean primaries is that the turnout for the populist candidates was much greater than for the moderate ones, so, as is so frequent, we see once again that it is harder to get out the middle-class vote.
Consequently, for those of us who want to get Argentina back on the proper tracks, the big job is to make our friends and neighbours understand the great importance of the PASO primaries, and to get them out of bed early on September 12 to go and vote, because: “It’s the Republic, darn it”! Harry Ingham,