UNCOORDINATED OPPOSITION: BEWARE OF THE MERMAID SONG

Since the PS (Socialist Party) voted against Angela Vivanco’s nomination to the Supreme Court, over the weekend we had a series of articles and columns talking, mainly, about two things: of the alleged internal crisis in the party that would have been triggered; and the poor state in which the opposition would find itself. Some used linguistic resources by saying that this crisis would be unprecedented at the international level and that it is unthinkable that parties that are successful in the past would play to be self-flagellants. I would like to dwell on this subject because I believe that some sin from a lack of perspective and others from too much optimism.

The first thing is to state the obvious: The PS’s decision not to support Vivanco’s candidacy is, without a doubt, a move that strongly strains the environment in the former Nueva Mayoría. Apparently, approving her nomination is part of a larger agreement that would allow ministers associated with NM parties to be appointed in the future. The PS, lost in its new definition as a feminist party (a statement that not a few have called opportunistic) and aware of the need to articulate a new opposition, has made a risky move.

But the PS isn’t the only one lost. The DC (Christian Democracy) spends its time fighting because the UDI (Union Demócrata Independiente) does not join an international organization, while the PPD (Partido Por la Democracia) debates where to go to look for alliances. Meanwhile, as Ernesto Ottone puts it over the weekend, the FA is trying to grow emotionally in the space of power it has gained. But none of this is new, none of this poses an insurmountable crisis, nor is any of this unprecedented at the global level. On the contrary, world social democracy is in crisis today and this script has been repeated from country to country. For some, it has meant a serious reversal of traditional parties, as we saw in Mexico last week. In others, traditional parties have been reborn from the ashes, as shown by the PSOE in Spain.

Political parties do not usually die from internal quarrels or disagreements, but from a lack of votes. And in that respect, the opposition is not short, at least not in Congress. That is not to say that today there is not a leadership vacuum or an evident lack of coordination, but it is somewhat illusory to believe that parties that have held power for years will not be able to adapt. Before even beginning to shed tears in anticipation of a funeral, the officialdom should look closely at internal movements and incipient signs of cooperation. It is clear that action plans between the FA and sectors of the former NM are already underway, and that it is only a matter of time before the internal mechanics of power are adjusted.

The task of the government is not easy, because contrary to what some believe, the opposition is not on its knees. On the contrary, the accusations of legislative laxity fleetingly succeeded in unifying the opposition discourse by showing that the government controls the agenda in Congress. So much was the effect that the President had to go out and clarify that the role of a government is not to send more bills, but to improve people’s lives. For the same reason, the government has to navigate between taking advantage of the lack of coordination and not motivating a reaction that allows the opposition to act together. A few days ago they sent the new CAE project, which will undoubtedly be the first proof of whether or not they found the right strategy.