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Protests In Chile: President Piñera Must Start Taking The Student Demands Seriously

Analysis: A year ago President Piñera enjoyed international ‘hero’ status thanks to Chile’s widely-covered mine rescue. Major student protests now have him on the rocks. By continuing to ignore their demands, Piñera may be digging himself a deeper hole st

Protests in Santiago increasingly focus on President Piñera (Horment)
Protests in Santiago increasingly focus on President Piñera (Horment)
Roberto Pizarro

SANTIAGO -- History has a way of repeating itself. In 2006, then President Michelle Bachelet faced massive protests by students demanding major reforms to Chile's economically segregated and low-quality education system. She responded by forming a so-called Committee of Experts. The result? After two years of useless discussions, Chile's Organic Constitutional Education Law (LOCE) – the education framework law in place since the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) – was replaced with something called the General Education Law (LGE).

Except for the acronym, however, nothing really changed. Holding hands and locking arms, the politicians – on both the right and left – celebrated passage of the LGE as a major victory. But it was a trick, one that served to reinforce the education system that was invented by Pinochet's economists and kept intact by the four governments of the center-left Concertación coalition (1990-2010) that succeeded him. For 90% of Chilean families, Bachelet's Committee of Experts was more bad news for their children.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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