Clientelism Dictionary Definitions

The idea of clientelism refers to a methodology developed by the rulers or by those who occupy a position of power, which consists of granting certain benefits to other people in exchange for favors, support or submission.

The clientelism supposes that one who occupies a public position makes gifts or grants advantages to a group of individuals, who “pay” those favors by providing support, usually electoral type. This implies that the political leader uses the resources of the state or his position of power for private gain.

Suppose that the governor of a province seeks re-election to continue his term. This man, with public funds, buys thousands of electrical appliances that he distributes in the poorest neighborhoods through people who work on his electoral campaign. The box of each appliance also bears the name of the governor. This behavior is one of the most common in clientelism: the politician hopes that, in gratitude and to continue receiving this type of benefit, the neighbors will vote for him in the elections.

Patronage helps a political party perpetuate itself in power. By managing state resources, rulers have the opportunity to use them for their own benefit to garner electoral support.

In order for clientelism to be applied, it is required that there be a high number of people (voters) with unmet needs who require state aid. Otherwise, the vote is not conditional on receiving a favor or gift. On the other hand, when the State’s resources are distributed as prescribed by law or fairly, patronage does not take place either because the leader cannot condition the distribution.

Thanks to the possibilities that social networks offer us today, many people report acts of patronage in times of elections. Although putting these unfortunate scenes in a shop window is not enough to end the corruption of political leaders, at least it serves to show them that there are still people who are not willing to be manipulated but who want to express their true ideas and only follow those who they respect.

It is very difficult to believe what a candidate for a government position can do to get votes. There are endless anecdotes that, despite reflecting a totally despicable attitude, surprise by the “creativity” of the minds that plan these strategies. For example, more than one politician has put dozens of people in specific parts of the city to give away car accessories to drivers.

Whether with stickers, sunshades or car air fresheners, the campaign promotion is spread throughout the city at no cost to the party, especially if drivers use the car to carry passengers. Delivering a sweet bread at Christmas time, offering free gasoline in exchange for placing a flag on the vehicle or even a consumption of food and drink are just some more examples of clientelism that occur in various parts of the world, although they seem typical of the fiction.

Of course, few stories reach the level of Waldo Enrique Ríos Salcedo, a politician of Peruvian origin who held the post of mayor of the city of Huaraz and was also a congressman of the Republic for the Independent Moralizing Front and regional governor of the department of Áncash.. To access this last position, he offered each family that voted for him a monthly payment of an amount of money, a promise that helped him win the elections although, once in power, he admitted that he could not keep it.