Chile’s unpopular outgoing president bids farewell to political news alone


Santiago, Chile – Chilean President Sebastian Pinera began delivering his final speech to the country this week. He apologized to families who have suffered economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many people feel angry and frustrated because they don’t always get the help they need at the right time,” he said. Tell the legislator It was surrounded by the majestic walls of the Senate Hall of the Capitol of Valparaiso on Tuesday night.

Due to the pandemic, only a small audience-all his cabinet members and some party leaders-attended his two-hour farewell speech, less than six months before the election will usher in the new president.

The right-wing newspaper La Tercera welcomed Piñera’s reconciliation message because he emphasized the importance of dialogue and reached consensus on several key issues in Chile.

Despite this, the president will be generally unpopular when he leaves office, his once strong support base has now collapsed, and his right-wing coalition is still in trouble. Shocked failure Analysts say this may have an impact on the upcoming presidential election.

“Piniella has been abandoned by those who voted for him, and worse, by right-wing supporters and MPs,” former diplomat Fernando Ayala told Al Jazeera. “The vast majority of Chileans oppose his way of facing social, economic and health crises.”

Fatigue status

In December 2017, during the second semester of the ballot voted in December 2017, Pinera has been criticized for providing too long to provide the financial assistance he promised to Chilean families. Chileans also said that in the economic downturn, aid is not enough to meet their needs.

His government has also been closely watched in its response to the pandemic. The Chilean Medical Association has repeatedly accused the health authorities of being opaque in providing information related to the coronavirus and explaining how the decision was passed.

At the same time, many Piñera’s supporters privately believed that he was responsible for the disastrous results of his right-wing coalition in last month’s “large elections,” in which Chileans voted for 155 representatives. Draft a new constitution.

Political analysts say this is the most serious failure of the right wing in the country in decades.

Robert Fink, a scholar at the Institute of Public Affairs of the University of Chile, said that the results show that “Chileans are skeptical of traditional politicians, tired of existing political parties, and eager for new faces”.

“So, leaving Piñera aside, this sentiment is affecting all parties and candidates,” Fink told Al Jazeera.

On Tuesday, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (Sebastian Pinera) delivered his annual State of the Union address. A man held up a banner during a demonstration. [Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters]

Surprise promise

Under these circumstances, Chileans did not have high expectations for Piñera’s speech on Tuesday night. His supporters have previously stated that if the president talks a little bit about revitalizing the economy and mentions some public safety issues, they will be satisfied.

But when Piniella announced that his government would speed up the enactment of laws to legalize same-sex marriage, the situation changed. “The era of same-sex marriage has come,” he said in his speech.

“I believe we must deeply understand the value of freedom, including the freedom to love and form a family with the one we love.”

This move was expected, because the initiative was put forward by former President Michelle Bachelet more than 10 years ago, and was praised by most Chileans-Pinera’s conservative Except for the right-wing alliance.

Since same-sex marriage has never appeared on public agendas or government plans, this blockbuster announcement has deepened divisions within the government and surprised many people, including Piñera’s cabinet members.

Pinera’s “Legacy”

Despite this, Piñera still firmly defends his leadership and what he calls his political “legacy.”

There is no doubt that the president’s greatest success during his second term was the government’s handling of the COVID-19 vaccination program. While many other countries were hesitant, Pinera and his team quickly obtained the vaccine.

According to “Our World Data” tracking coronavirus-related data, Chile became the country with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the world in March, with an average of 1.08 jabs per 100 people per day.

But this did not increase Piñera’s popularity. His current approval rate is 9%, and political analysts say this may affect the outcome of the November presidential election.

Former diplomat Ayala said that although opposition forces still have differences, “right-wing candidates are trying to distance themselves from Piñera and hope to re-attract their potential voters before voting on November 21.”

‘Election failed’

Despite this, the outgoing president seems to insist that his government has done a lot for Chile.

“His speech seems to reveal a parallel reality. There are many project names but very little progress-this is how ordinary people think,” Gerardo Mooney, former presidential candidate and chairman of the Democratic Party (Partido por la Democracia) A staunch Piñera critic told reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Heraldo Munoz.

Political analysts also pointed out that Piñera could have led the process of formulating a new constitution to replace the documents of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship that had existed for decades. But the implosion of the right in the polls made this impossible.

Political scientist Mireya Davila told Al Jazeera: “The paradox is that the president’s idea when he came to power was to make a second transition and lead a new stage of development.”

“On the contrary, he eventually buried the Pinochet Constitution and faced election defeat in the political branch that he had not seen since 1990.”


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