dimarts, 27 de novembre de 2012

Pricking the bubble of partitocracy





"Every cloud has a silver lining", goes the popular refrain. In this sense, were many who thought that the crisis would serve to lift the carpet of these all years of bubble, to get rid of extra structures and to rationalize spending. But instead of propelling a new paradigm of economic model,  the crisis has put forward the hardships of the Spanish political system. In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal referred to Spain as a country of mediocre politicians, conflicts of interest and cronyism.

One cause of this painful perception lies in the Spanish partitocracy. Political parties have entrenched themselves in the (mis) governance of the public to the point of becoming establishment. The fact that Spain is the country with more political offices per capita in Europe is not justified by efficiency of public administration, but by the need to cover the modus vivendi of the political class. Public subsidies, parties released, positions on boards, chairing buddies savings, expenses, contracts friends... All this string of serves the status quo of the parties. A few days ago it was reported that of the 245 consultants handpicked by President Rajoy, 68 didn’t even graduate high school. What are they going to advise, how to get out of the crisis?

Professor Alejandro Nieto argues that today's political system consists of a network of personal relationships constitutes a revamped feudal system. In this context, the corporate interests of the political class prevail over the collective and parties cover each other's nakedness. Now, above all raw blind loyalty to the party leadership is valued. This explains how there are so many politicians who have not seen any other workplace than are provided by the placement agency of political parties. How many politicians today have been entrepreneurs? How many have worked in private enterprise? This low level personal qualification results in extreme inefficiency.

Politicians are unable to propose real solutions and simply cut right and left hoping that the crisis abates as if it were a more or less temporary passenger. Also, the slow pace of the political class (there are many politicians who have spent more than twenty years gaining public funds) is not conducive to the public interest avails. Stamping on the institutional carpet regularly makes many forget the dust storms of the needy.

The rule of partitocracy has consolidated a political elite that lives outside of the real problems of the citizens. The gap between politicians and citizens is becoming deeper, but this aren’t too concerned about our leaders: while abstention does not involve loss of votes to lose control of the institutions, the parties need not be alarmed and may continue their musical chairs entertaining games of fratricidal. This situation (which can be applied to other areas: economic, social, cultural ...) reveals a terrible risk: progress of all kinds of populism and radicalism.

For that reason, it’s urgent to take measures to regenerate the Spanish democracy such as open lists, limitation of political charges, guarantee the independence of senior state agencies, approve a large national pact against corruption, encourage internal democracy political parties, the direct election of mayors, the promotion of the revolving door, etc. In other words: to prick the bubble of the current partitocracy.

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