Latin America is going through a critical “pre-explosive” moment with traditional democracy in decadence, “one out of two Latin Americans want someone to solve their problems, even ignoring the law”
The statement belongs to Marta Lagos, director of Latin Barometer, which regularly polls the political and social mood in the continent. Lagos was the main speaker at a conference in the House of the Americas, in Madrid, in which the subject was A new social contract. Renewing democracy so nobody is left behind
And the threat this time is not from military regimes but rather populism, added Ms Lagos, some 60% of people are prepared to take to the streets to protest
Public opinion on democracy is rapidly eroding, only 48% of the population supports the current model of democracy and 95% of all those interviewed said that democracy does not deliver or fulfill expectations
Latin Barometer added that one third of the population does not dare to tell what they think, fearing consequences. We have a serious interaction problem and because of this problem there are no chances of drafting a new social contract
So far the concept of electoral democracy is more or less healthy, in that to reach office you must compete in elections. However the prevailing feeling is that once you reach power, based on a democratic election, you can exercise it at your whim.
However Ms Lagos insists civil society must play a vital role even when the political spectrum tries to delegitimize it. Legitimacy is not only the origin, but is also daily exercise. To exercise power you must respect the civil society, what populism does is for the political spectrum to attempt to delegitimize the critical role of public opinion”.
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