Delegative Democracy Revisited: Chile’s Crisis of Representation

Issue Date July 2016
Volume 27
Issue 3
Page Numbers 129-138
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The article describes Chile’s contemporary political crisis and provides an account of the recent events that triggered it. The author further presents a structural explanation of the crisis. While the re-politicization of inequality has helped trigger the contemporary crisis of legitimacy, this article argues that the root cause of the crisis is the lack of effective channels of vertical accountability. Strong horizontal accountability, individual leaders’ popularity, and the prospect of socioeconomic incorporation during a long cycle of economic growth compensated for the vertical-accountability deficit for a time, but that arrangement has proven politically fragile.