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Anatomy of elite politics by Mon Casiple

When political issues appear (or reappear) in the media, presidential appointments start flying around, and high-level meets are being whispered (and denied), that can only mean one thing–a decision has been (or is being) made at the highest level. In the current state of the political crisis of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government, that can only be one thing–its future, both in relation to the 2010 end of term and to the post-GMA scenario.

The dynamics of elite politics unfolds before us as key elite players–the presidentiables, the ones who sits in power, the economic giants, kingmaker institutions–play out their respective roles in trying to agree on a future power arrangement and the political rules of the game. Of course, this process largely hides from the public and we only get glimpses from time to time especially during periods of disagreement. Then one or some of the protagonists go to media and try to get the leverages they need in the negotiations.

The GMA administration, it seems, has already left behind its obsession to stay in power. It may have failed to get the critical political mass to push it through the various obstacles to such a scenario. Its moves in the past week or so has been to satisfy loyalists, ensure their transition, and blunt opposition. These point to a 2010 election scenario.

Obviously, presidentiables are waiting in the wings for this. We can expect a more active effort on their part to get the MalacaƱang quiet endorsement without unduly exposing themselves to an anti-GMA voting public. The ruling coalition may not escape unscathed–it will be subjected to severe pressure from all sides and will be hard-pressed to unify behind one candidate. It does not have a viable candidate at the moment.

However, the more significant thing is that all of these are happening without the participation of much of the democratic constituency. Traditional politics is elite politics–only the privileged are players in this political game. The votes are, however, not of the elite’s, but of the people.


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