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4 posts from mai 2011

26/05/2011

Les élections péruviennes: Quand la croissance économique ne suffit pas (avec Alberto Vergara)

Mario Vargas Llosa, écrivain péruvien et le plus récent prix Nobel de littérature, avait dit  un an avant le premier tour des élections, le 20 avril 2011, qu’un deuxième tour présidentiel au Pérou entre Ollanta Humala et Keiko Fujimori serait comme choisir entre le cancer et le sida. Un an après, voilà que les Péruviens se retrouvent avec ce dilemme si redouté. Ollanta Humala, un candidat populiste, nationaliste de gauche et ancien militaire, affrontera au deuxième tour Keiko Fujimori, la fille d’Alberto Fujimori, ancien dictateur péruvien emprisonné pour violation des droits humains et corruption. Le cauchemar des Péruviens modérés s’est réalisé. Qu’est-il arrivé?

La question est intrigante. Depuis que le régime autoritaire d’Alberto Fujimori s’est écroulé en 2000, le pays a connu un essor économique et démocratique sans précédents. Pendant toute la décennie, le Pérou a connu des taux de croissance comparables à ceux de la Chine. La pauvreté a baissé systématiquement et les investissements privés sont arrivés à un rythme  auparavant inconnu. D’autre part, à l’encontre de plusieurs pays latino-américains (Argentine, Bolivie, Équateur, Honduras) où des présidents ne réussissaient par à terminer leur mandat constitutionnel, les gouvernements aux Pérou ont  connu des administrations stables. De plus, l’ex président Alberto Fujimori a été  condamnée  à 25 ans de prison après un procès considéré exemplaire; d’ailleurs, plusieurs de ses ministres, généraux et collaborateurs sont aussi allés en prison. Ainsi, aussi bien du point de vue économique que politique, le pays semblait se trouver sur la bonne  voie après plusieurs décennies d’autoritarisme ou d’instabilité.

Cependant la prospérité et la démocratie n’ont pas empêché le grand choc électoral du 10 avril dernier. Le pays est replongé dans l’incertitude avec la victoire de deux candidats qui  pourraient remettre en question les acquis économiques et institutionnels d’une décennie de stabilité démocratique.

Ollanta Humala est un ancien militaire qui a soutenu une révolte en 2005 contre le gouvernement démocratique d’Alejandro Toledo. Il a monté sa campagne électorale contre le  néolibéralisme et pour les exclus de ce modèle. Candidat battu aux élections de 2006, il vouait  alors une admiration sans bornes pour Hugo Chávez; aujourd’hui, il semble plutôt faire de Lula son modèle. A-t-il vraiment basculé de militaire nationaliste putschiste à social-démocrate à la brésilienne?

Keiko Fujimori, une sorte de Marine Le Penn péruvienne, a participé au gouvernement de son père.  Il y a encore quelques semaines elle le présentait comme ayant été le meilleur président de toute l’histoire du Pérou.  Cependant, depuis qu’elle a atteint le deuxième tour, elle essaye de se montrer critique envers lui.

Malgré les différences politiques entre Humala et Fujimori, ils ont en commun de se partager l’électorat le plus pauvre du pays. Ils sont tous les deux les favoris des moins fortunés. Par contre, les candidats des couches aisées et des secteurs moyens, qui étaient plutôt modérés, n’ont pas atteint le deuxième tour.

L’explication de ce deuxième tour entre un populisme de gauche et un populisme de droite repose  sur plusieurs facteurs. En premier lieu, dans le court terme, trois candidatures « centristes » ont divisé le vote modéré dans cette campagne. L’ex premier ministre Pedro Kuzcynski, l’ex président Alejandro Toledo et l’ex maire de Lima Luis Castaneda, ont ensemble reçu presque 50% de voies. Réunis, ils auraient pu passer au deuxième tour.

La deuxième raison est que le Pérou est devenu une démocratie de politiciens sans partis politiques. Ils véhiculent tous des intérêts privés au détriment des intérêts nationaux.  Les candidats présidentiels sont  les otages des intérêts privés, de ceux qui financent leurs campagnes.

Finalement, le résultat s’explique aussi par un fait structurel. Le Pérou reste un pays à croissance économique à deux vitesses. Les villes de la côte, spécialement Lima, sont les plus avantagées par cette croissance. Les populations de la «sierra» (hauteurs) et  de la  « selva » (jungle) se perçoivent comme étant marginalisées du « miracle économique  péruvien ». Donc, dans la majeure partie du pays, mise à part Lima et deux autres départements de la côte, le nombre de voies pour Humala et Fujimori est très majoritaire. Le vote est, en définitive, une grande gifle à la figure du establishment politique et économique de Lima. Le deuxième tour, qui aura lieu le 5 juin, exprime bien plus qu’une polarisation idéologique, droite-gauche. Il s’agit  par dessus tout d’un vote de protestation.

 

 

12/05/2011

Après la défaite du Bloc: Comment se porte le mouvement souverainiste?

Pas très bien, mais malgré la défaite cuisante du Bloc Québécois les éléments fondamentaux qui sous-tendent le mouvement souverainiste au Québec n'ont pas changé de façon significative. L'idée de la souveraineté et les principaux éléments qui la motivent restent très présents dans l'opinion, mais le leadership nécessaire pour que l'appui à l'idée se transforme en votes ne va pas très bien.

Texte publié dans le Toronto Star, le vendredi 13 mai 2011.

Sovereignty movement is down but not out

The Quebec sovereignty movement suffered a severe blow last week. After six consecutive successful elections, the Bloc Québécois was virtually wiped out.

Just a month ago, many sovereignists saw in Gilles Duceppe and his disciplined troops a catalyst for their cause. Now Duceppe is gone after a lacklustre campaign and the Bloc may well be finished as a political player in Quebec.

To many Canadians, this can only mean that the idea of sovereignty is dead.

In fact, the fundamentals that drive support for sovereignty may not have changed much, although the implications of the election make predicting the course of events trickier than ever.

Recent polls on support for sovereignty in Quebec suggest a stable level of about 40 per cent, just below where it was before the 1995 referendum campaign. But behind that collective stability, individual positions are less stable. Between the dyed-in-the-wool separatists and unwaveringly patriotic Canadians, there is a vast middle ground of Quebecers who may, under certain conditions, opt for either option.

Understanding how they make up their minds can help us anticipate how the politics of sovereignty might unfold in the wake of last week’s BQ debacle.

There are three key factors: core values, including national identity; a more or less explicit cost-benefit analysis of federalism versus sovereignty; and the context in which individuals make up their mind as they ponder that big choice.

On the question of whether Quebecers identify primarily with Quebec or with Canada, the long-term trend has been toward the former. This trend has been accelerated by generational change as fewer young Quebecers than ever identify — either primarily or equally — with Canada.

For example, last December a Léger Marketing poll found that 60 per cent of all Quebecers identified primarily or exclusively with Quebec, up from measures of 45 to 50 per cent in the late 1990s.

Interestingly, a Léger poll conducted immediately after the election that saw Quebec jump into the arms of the NDP showed virtually no change in the level of attachment to Canada in the province.

Predispositions also rest on core social values. Quebec is Canada’s most left-leaning province. If Stephen Harper gives in to the demands of backbench social conservatives, who make no secret of their wish to redefine “Canadian values,” the emerging new Canadian identity could become unpalatable to large segments of the Quebec population.

On issues related to religion, gun control, criminal justice, same-sex unions and other values, there is a rift between opinion in Quebec and the rest of Canada. There are also persistent differences between Quebec’s opinions on military policy and the Tories’ more interventionist propensities.

On the whole, federalists might hope that the election results could bring Canadians and Quebecers closer together, but Léger’s post-election poll shows that 60 per cent of Quebecers do not believe that proposition.

Identity and values are a key starting point, but Quebecers are a calculating bunch and their choice depends on evaluations of the respective costs and benefits of sovereignty and federalism.

Aside from balancing the cultural-linguistic promises of sovereignty against its potential economic costs, Quebecers are also keenly sensitive to the possibility of political gains or losses within federalism, especially with regard to policy autonomy for their provincial government and a formal recognition of Quebec’s distinct character.

On this account, the election sends mixed messages. The NDP attracted Quebec voters with a promise of creating elusive “winning conditions for Quebec in Canada,” which may lead some “soft nationalists” to give Canada another chance.

But the NDP is in no position to fulfill these expectations, and with little Quebec representation in the Harper cabinet, the stage has been set for renewed disillusionment with federalism.

All these factors seem to suggest the election could lead to a strengthening rather than a weakening of the idea of sovereignty, but a strong idea is not enough.

Ultimately, political success must be earned at the ballot box, which takes leaders able to win elections and then clear the huge hurdle of a referendum vote.

There is little doubt that Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois are in a good position to defeat Jean Charest’s Liberals in the next election but, following the defeat of Duceppe and the Bloc, the gaping hole in the sovereignty movement’s leadership makes the next step — a referendum victory — a more elusive goal.

Finally, the federal election offers a cautionary tale that the PQ would ignore at its peril: Given the yearning for change of a highly volatile Quebec electorate, sovereignists cannot dismiss the scenario of a hastily put-together third party suddenly pulling the rug from under their feet.

Pierre Martin is a professor of political science at the Université de Montréal.

11/05/2011

La crédibilité des experts

Labo fever sur TV5: entrevue avec Éric Montpetit

http://www.tv5.ca/public_html/clubsocial/labo.php?no_profession=25

04/05/2011

Le Bloc Québécois victime de ses propres succès

Dans cet article, publié quelques jours avant l'élection fédérale du 2 mai 2011, j'explique comment les succès du Bloc Québécois au cours des vingt dernières années ont pu contribuer à sa retentissante défaite du 2 mai. En toute humilité, je prévoyais des pertes pour le Bloc à ce point, mais pas tant que ça!

Texte publié dans le Toronto Star, vendredi 29 avril 2011.

Bloc’s success paved the way for NDP’s surge in Quebec

A seismic shift seems to be taking place in federal politics, with the NDP poised to take second place. And it all started in Quebec.

Who would have thought that Jack Layton, the last to jump into the election fray, would be the campaign’s biggest winner? Who would have predicted that this surge would start in a province where the NDP has won only two seats in the past half-century?

Since January, the four parties had held steady positions in Quebec opinion polls, with the Bloc around 40 per cent, the Liberals and Conservatives around 20 per cent, and the NDP at about 16 per cent. Then, even before the debates, the NDP suddenly started to surge. In many polls, it now stands first with about 35 per cent, while the Bloc barely manages to hold onto its lead among francophones.

Why this sudden NDP surge in Quebec?

Before I go on, it should be noted that the actual seat count on Monday may not reflect the polling numbers. The NDP’s support is diffuse and it may lead in many cases to Conservative gains over the Bloc, or Bloc gains over Liberals. Also, even if Quebecers have fallen for “Jack-mania,” they may be unimpressed with the largely unknown local NDP candidates.

Still, the NDP breakthrough cannot be dismissed, and some common explanations for it make sense. The fact that the NDP’s leftist policy orientation is close to the Quebec mainstream is nothing new.

Neither is the dismal state of the Liberal party’s organization in Quebec or Michael Ignatieff’s inability to rebuild his party’s tarnished brand.

The never-ending debates on the Bloc’s raison d’être or the obvious challenge of garnering a majority of seats in a seventh consecutive election may also be good reasons to explain the rise of another credible alternative to the Tories.

All these explanations may lead some to conclude that this election is the beginning of the end for the Bloc. It may also embolden some New Democrats to think that their party is best suited to assume the Bloc’s dominant position.

Indeed, after leading the pack for so long, the Bloc’s descent from 40 per cent to the low 30s or worse has to be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

But is this weakness permanent? Is it a sign of failure? Not necessarily.

In fact, the sudden NDP surge may be interpreted — albeit counterintuitively — as a reflection of the Bloc’s successes on many fronts.

First, the Bloc has been successful in anchoring its position firmly on the left of the political spectrum. While it lost a few old-line blue nationalists in the process, it gained in coherence. Apart from the national question, however, this tended to blur the policy lines between it and its opposition partners, particularly the NDP.

Second, because of its longevity, the Bloc was due to pay one day or other for its lack of new blood, from the leadership down.

Third, what is striking about the NDP surge is its suddenness, and the fact that there was no sign of it before the campaign, although all the conditions for it were already in place. This shows how successful the Bloc has been in disconnecting a large chunk of the Quebec public from the federal scene. How else to explain why so many voters changed their minds so fast based on so little information about the NDP’s actual policy proposals?

Perhaps this disconnection explains why so few voters have been lured by Stephen Harper’s invitation to Quebec’s “regions” to seize “power,” or by the Liberals’ long-running assertion that only they could form a government to replace the Tories. This disconnection also translates into a lack of firm party commitment at the federal level for a large part of the Quebec electorate, which makes rapid shifts all but inevitable.

Finally, the Bloc has been successful in defining the theme of the campaign: defeating Harper. Now that another party provides a credible means to that end, Gilles Duceppe is desperately trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

In fact, many federalist voters agreed with the Bloc’s initial goal, but they wouldn’t vote for sovereignists. Once the NDP bandwagon started rolling, they were more than happy to jump aboard. Now some polls suggest that nearly half of non-francophones may be inclined to vote for Layton.

As the election draws near, there may be debate as to the size of the national trend toward the NDP, but there is agreement on the fact that the shift started in Quebec.

Perhaps the Bloc has managed to turn the Quebec electorate into the Forrest Gump of Canadian politics: completely disconnected, but setting the trend.

Pierre Martin is a professor of political science at the Université de Montréal.