OPINION

A summer of political ferment

This summer, a few months before the local and regional elections that will be held in newly established constituencies, provides a historic opportunity to break taboos and free ourselves from the grip of the client-patron system that has so corrupted this country. The elections allow us to hope that we can break free from blind devotion to political parties and return to the roots of politics – the community and the citizen. Today our society is more ready than ever to take charge of its fate, rather than wait for solutions from some distant center or party, to free itself from the expectation of favors and political wheeling and dealing. The austerity measures and the humiliation of being under international supervision have hurt citizens. They now demand solutions, knowing that whoever does not do his job well, whoever cheats the system, is taking money out of their pockets, undermining their pensions, their health system, their children’s education. Perhaps for these reasons more citizens appear ready to vote on the basis of candidates’ abilities. Of course, most candidates – especially those with large budgets – will be backed by major parties. But in many cases they will be elected because they have convinced voters that they are the most capable people for the post and not because their party controls the largest number of voters in that district. More important, though, is the fact that the creation of larger constituencies at the regional and municipal level means that the bad habits and fixed relationships of the previous constituencies will be broken. This, along with the parties’ lack of credibility among many voters, will allow new candidates to emerge, as they will believe that the parties’ monopoly has been broken and that they now stand a chance of being elected, of being able to offer their services to society. If these significant changes do take place, then local government will be transformed: Instead of wasteful spending and corruption, they can become the source of new political forces, of better management of our country’s wealth. This is what people are discussing today, in this summer of political ferment. This is what people want.