The Rise of Democracy in Chile
General Augusto Pinochet gained power during a blood-filled coup during 1973 when his militaristic, authoritarian rule began. He continued to rule in a brutal regime of repression and human rights abuse until 1989 when his regime was lifted in favor of a more democratic system. Since 1990, Chile seems to be on the right track to re-establishing a once strong democracy that will continue to strengthen in the future. The three factors that have increased the likelihood of this success are the tripartite party system, institutionalization of the party system, and reduction of the ideological polarization that gripped the country. Finally, some of the elements of change were present to ensure a successful push to instate democratic principles.
Chile’s tripartite system has been most of the strongest factors in the success of its democracy. Before the military coup of Pinochet in 1973, the tripartite system was seen as the anchor of the Chile’s democracy, which was arguably seen as the strongest in Latin America. When Pinochet took over, these systems remained dormant, but they were not dismantled because they did not serve as a major obstacle to the democratic demise in 1973. When Pinochet’s rule was lifted, this party system reemerged with little change from the pre-Pinochet era. Within this system, there is a clear right, left, and center which all are able to reign in a solid proportion of votes. After Pinochet’s rule, these parties have led to the increased representation for the citizens, and the increased competition between the political parties. These two characteristics lie at the core of a good democratic foundation. Furthermore, the fact that the party system was still in effect after nearly 17 years of dormancy demonstrates strong evidence that there is a strong sense of political identity, and it also shows that the citizens are aligned with its political leaders. The strong nature of the tripartite system has also led to a barrier to dominant party system development since it is not very likely that any one party of the system is likely to dominate the electorate on a consistent basis. The tri-party system is the strongest element of democracy within Chile, and it will continue to drive the democratic process.
The highly institutionalized nature of the political parties before the Pinochet regime remained relatively unchanged during his rule. So, this has served as an instrument for democratic stability since 1990. The institutional nature of the parties has made their influence national in scope, and it has also led to the avoidance of personalistic domination. The personalistic domination has been limited by the parties’ reliance on their internal rules which control how the government is run. This has...