In his introduction to this volume, Weyland locates the administrations of Socialist Presidents Ricardo Lagos (2000-06) and Michelle Bachelet (2006- 2010) closest to the moderate pole among current leftist governments in Latin America. We concur and hope to contribute to the discussion by elucidating the sources of this moderation and examining the performance of these governments in the areas of political management, economic policies, and social policies and labor market reforms. The Lagos and Bachelet governments have pursued similar market-friendly economic policies to their predecessors. Although both presidents have made important progress in overcoming the political institutionallegacies of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship, moderate progress in labor market policies, and impressive progress in two social policy areas, very little improvement has been seen in the realm of fostering citizen participation and empowering labor and social movements through organization and linkages to political parties. We compare the Lagos and Bachelet governments to those of their Christian Democratic predecessors as well as to each other with the goal of identifying policy successes, failures, and omissions. We argue that the administrations' moderation stems from the political experiences of the leadership and their resulting approach to building relationships to the party rank-and-file and to civil society, the fact that these are coalition governments, and the constraints of the Pinochet political and economic legacies.
Copyright © 2010 Cambridge University Press. This chapter first appeared in Leftist Governments in Latin America: Successes and Shortcomings.
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Huber, Evelyne, Jennifer Pribble, and John D. Stephens. "The Chilean Left in Power: Achievements, Failures, and Omissions." In Leftist Governments in Latin America: Successes and Shortcomings, edited by Kurt Weyland, Raul L. Madrid, and Wendy Hunter, 77-97. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.