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Top-Down And Bottom-Up Democracy In Chile Under Bachelet

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Chapter Summary

The arrival of Michelle Bachelet at the Presidency of the Republic represented a political sea change in Chile. Besides being the first woman President, Bachelet was also the fourth consecutive President from the Concertación, the centre-left coalition in power since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship. During her first two years in office, she has striven to implement a safety net for those who are less capable of competing in a market economy. She has also sought to introduce bottom-up mechanisms of democracy, as opposed to the top-down approach that traditionally characterized the previous Concertación governments. Although the long-term effects of the initiatives aimed at strengthening participatory democracy and a 'citizen government' (gobierno ciudadano) are not yet known, Bachelet has successfully added a new dimension to the ongoing debate on consolidating and strengthening democracy in Chile.

Keywords: bottom-up democracy; Chile; Michelle Bachelet; social safety net initiative; top-down democracy



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