David Plumb, "El Partido por la Democracia: The Birth of
Chile's Postmaterialist Catch-All Left," Party
Politics, 4 (January 1998), 93-106.
- First Paragraph:
- With the return to democracy in 1989, Chile's
political parties won back their central role in the
country's politics, having suffered 16 years of
fragmentation and active repression under the military
government. Despite the extended interruption, most
observers have been impressed by the continuity of
Chile's party system (Scully and Valenzuela, 1993;
Coppedge, 1998). The parties, their respective popularity
and even many principal leaders have not changed
significantly since the 1973 coup. Chile's traditional
party system appears to have emerged unscathed from the
difficult years of dictatorship.
Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Free market versus state planning: respondents'
positioning on a seven-point scale (%)
Table 2: Voting patterns since the 1988 plebiscite (%)
Amid these uncertainties, two conclusions emerge. First,
Chileans have shown increasing interest in new center
orientated leftist discourse and Inglehart's postmaterialist
issues during the last decade. Second, the PPD has
successfully challenged traditional party politics in Chile
by developing an alternative political culture and electoral
strategy. The PPD's pragmatic consensus-orientated approach
proved to be essential in the 1988 plebiscite vote and
return to democracy. Their new political style will
hopefully continue to promote centrist tendencies and
democratic stability in Chile. For better or for worse, the
catch-all party is becoming a central part of Chilean
democracy in the 1990s.