February 27, 2006

Do the People Trust the State?

MABB © ®

This has become a big problem for the Bolivian government. The little graph published in La Razon shows how much the people distrust the judicial branch of government and speaks volumes on the issue of legitimacy or lack thereof for the institutions of the state.

The graph shows, comparatively, support or confidence for the judicial branch in the years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. It gives a choice of very trustworthy, somewhat trustworthy, not at all trustworthy.

The striking result is that the judicial branch scores as not at all trustworthy. In all the years the scores lie between 64% (2006) and 84% (2002).

Of course, one just has to keep in mind that the Apoyo, Opinion y Mercado survey was, once again, conducted only on the biggest cities in Bolivia. These cities are La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz (also known as the "eje truncal" or the main axis).

I have been arguing that these kind of surveys hardly represent the opinion of the population in general. The survey concetrates in urban areas where there are a lot of problems and a lot of people who are disenchanted with the system. It does not take into account the people who live in the country side.

Nevertheless, the outcome is astounding for democrats alike. The legitimacy of the democratic system seems to be threatened to the core. All institutions, the Congress, the judicial, the presidency, the policy, the military, the political parties, etc., have little support amongst the population.

The question coming to mind is, is this a crisis of the democratic system or is it a realignment?