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Chile: Taking stock of democratic progress

Country: 
Chile
Posted date: 
Fri, 01/01/2010
Source of the information: 
IDEA
A work in progress, ‘democracy’ is never a finished product, but rather an unfolding process that requires continuous engagement by citizens. For the 2010 bicentennial celebration of independence, a coalition of think tanks from a broad spectre of the Chilean political landscape aims to strengthen this engagement by assessing the state of democracy in Chile.
 

A work in progress, ‘democracy’ is never a finished product, but rather an unfolding process that requires continuous engagement by citizens. For the 2010 bicentennial celebration of independence, a coalition of think tanks from a broad spectre of the Chilean political landscape aims to strengthen this engagement by assessing the state of democracy in Chile.

A work in progress, ‘democracy’ is never a finished product, but rather an unfolding process that requires continuous engagement by citizens. For the 2010 bicentennial celebration of independence, a coalition of think tanks from a broad spectre of the Chilean political landscape aims to strengthen this engagement by assessing the state of democracy in Chile.
 
The celebration of 200 years of independence offers an opportune moment for a debate that is visionary, broad-based and consensus building on where Chile want to be in the near, and not so near future.
 
During the past two decades, Chile has consolidated its political stability, maintained high levels of economic growth and made significant strides towards improving the living conditions of its population. While in 1980 the country had a Human Development Index of 0.747, today it measures 0.874 placing it 40th in the world in terms of human development. Moreover, since the mid 1980s, Chile’s economy has grown at an average rate of 5 percent per year. This has led to a dramatic reduction in poverty rates—from 40 percent in 1990 to 13.7 percent in 2006.
 
A variety of cross-sectional and survey data indicate that Chile has successfully reduced poverty, targeted its social policies, and increased household well-being over the past decade. Thus, Chile is successfully achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In the meantime, the country has also made significant inroads towards strengthening its state apparatus to deliver public policies and political institutions, achieving consistent political stability during the past few decades. The 2004 UNDP report “Democracy in Latin America: Towards a Citizen’s Democracy”, includes Chile among the countries that had made the most advances towards strengthening electoral institutions and procedures.
 
However, despite the many achievements, and its well-recognized democratic stability, Chile faces growing citizen’s disenchantment with democracy, low levels of legitimacy of key democratic institutions, decreasing electoral participation –particularly among youth- persistent exclusion of women and indigenous population of elected positions, as well as other problems relating to its political institutional framework.
 
With the support of the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre and International IDEA; the project aims to establish the foundations and developing a governance assessment in Chile through a multi-stakeholder nationally driven process. By strengthening national capacities it will help government and non-government actors to identify, map and analyze key challenges facing governance in Chile today and advance policy reform in the areas of political parties, electoral reform and political regime.
 
The project will be executed by UNDP Chile in coordination with a consortium of four national Think Tanks (CIEPLAN, CEP, Libertad & Desarrollo and Projectamerica) representative of a broad ideological spectrum and will seek to foster inclusive participation of other social and political sectors with a particular emphasis on historically marginalized groups such as women and indigenous communities.
 
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