Elections are just a slice of democracy

Published in El Pais, 24 October 2020.

After a week, the results of the elections are in. I am not going to talk about them. Enough people are sure to be talking and analyzing better than I am. What I can see is that in Bolivia democracy goes far beyond who wins the elections. For some economists, a vote is the summit of democracy, but Bolivians have always shown that a vote is only a fraction. Bolivians do not easily accept whatever treatment from politicians, and they go to the streets to demonstrate and protest if they do not like a certain decision. A great task awaits the winner of the elections. COVID-19 is still in Bolivia, the economy has suffered a lot and there were already other problems such as education, security, health, justice and corruption. Confronting and resolving these takes hard work.

Being president and leader of a country is not based on winning the elections only, but also on caring for an entire popuation and country, regardless of who has voted for him or not. The great power that Bolivians have is that they can make the president listen to them or even get rid of him when losing his legitimacy.

Legitimacy is not only obtained by taking popular action to win elections. It is also achieved by taking unpopular measures that in the long term are the best for the country and all its people. For example, universal, comprehensive, and good quality health insurance could not be achieved without people paying something. A great leader with legitimacy can explain this without the demonstrations demanding his resignation.

There are aspects in health that need to be improved. For this, it is important to change things, although they will not be popular. Time will tell if the new government manages to maintain its legitimacy for the important things that the country requires.

About Arnold Hagens 296 Articles
Arnold Hagens is Economist with strong interest in technology, health and coaching

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