Thousands of Chileans have decided to break up with their political parties since October 18, when they began a revolt process marked by peaceful protests, unprecedented levels of violence and serious allegations of human rights violations. According to the Electoral Service figures, 14,786 people resigned their groups until January 31 of this year, out of a total of 500,000 members throughout the system. The figure of the last three months is equivalent to the total desertions of all 2018.
The exodus of affiliates coincides with a collapse in the trust of the institutions, which – so far – have failed to give an answer that appeases the spirits of a citizen who goes out to the streets every week to demand changes in one of the most unequal OECD countries. The most affected party has been the Democratic Revolution (DR), one of the main collectivities of the Frente Amplio, a new referent of the left that emerged after the student mobilizations of 2011 and that on several occasions has shown harmony with the Spanish Pode. In these three months of revolts, the party founded by former university leader Giorgio Jackson lost 2,446 affiliates, representing 6% of his membership.
Waivers occur in a complex period for the Broad Front. The decision of some of its members to agree with the ruling party on April 26 – when Chileans will vote whether or not they want a new Constitution that ends the dictatorship – has caused an internal crisis and the exit of five collectivities
Among the defectors of the Broad Front is the Humanist Party, which represented 15% of the strength of this conglomerate in Parliament. “It is a young and emerging party, but with a high degree of internal conflict. Surely, an important part of his militancy did not seem correct to sign the agreement with the traditional parties, ”explains the academic of the University of Talca, Mauricio Morales. For Gloria de la Fuente, director of the Chile 21 Foundation, a think tank center-left, this is a logical part of a coalition “that is in spaces of redefinition regarding the social outbreak.”
The second most affected party was the Socialist, where 1,890 people decided to disenroll, including historical leaders such as Deputy Marcelo Díaz, spokesman for the Government during the second term of Michelle Bachelet, now a high commissioner for Human Rights at the UN. La Democracia Cristiana, a member of the Socialist party in the Concertoción de centroizquierda that ruled Chile since the return to democracy in 1990 and until the first Government of Piñera, in 2010, lost 1,185 members.
The resignations also affect the parties of Chile Vamos, a center-right coalition that brought Sebastián Piñera back to La Moneda in 2018. In total, 3,934 people have stopped military in the ruling party. Of these 1,685 belong to National Renewal – a party that has experienced internal differences after the outbreak – and 1,567 correspond to the UDI, sector of harder positions. President Piñera also faces unprecedented levels of rejection: only 6% approve his administration, according to the CEP survey.
These figures are in tune with other data released after the crisis: only 2% of citizens trust political parties, according to the CEP poll, while general approval has plummeted. According to the Cadem survey, support for the official Chilean Chile Vamos coalition fell from 36% to 21%, while support for the ex-Concertación collapsed from 28% to 9%. The same goes for the Frente Amplio, whose support went from 22% to 9%. All in just three months.
A phenomenon that, according to experts, may be related to the increase in what is called the “skeptical Democrats,” that is, “people more available to mobilize but who rely less and less on political parties and institutions.” , as Gloria de la Fuente explains. According to figures from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the “skeptical Democrats” in Chile increased from 25% to 43% during the last decade.
For the Political and Academic Scientist of the University of Chile, Robert Funk, “the parties have ceased to have social roots because they have long been managed by domes or elites.” For Mauricio Morales, meanwhile, citizen disillusionment is reaching the traditionally toughest sectors of each party. “In an environment of polarization and violence, citizens prefer to be far from the worst evaluated institutions” ditch.