The ultra-conservative right in a strong position to draft the new Constitution of Chile
Javier Torres Agence France-Presse Supporters of the Republican Party, classified on the far right , celebrate after winning 22 of the 50 seats in the new Constitutional Council.
The ultra-conservative right will be responsible for drafting a new Constitution to replace the one inherited from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, according to the official results of a poll released on Sunday, after the rejection of an initial proposal for change during a a referendum in 2022.
More than 15.1 million Chileans went to the polls on Sunday to elect, among 350 candidates, the 50 members who will form the Constitutional Council which will aim to propose a new Constitution for the country.
After counting of the ballots, the Republican Party, classified on the far right, opposed from the start to a reform of the Constitution, won 35% of the vote (22 seats), against 29% counted for the left-wing coalition supporting the government of Gabriel Boric (17), according to official data. The traditional right won 21% of the vote (11).
The Republican Party, which opposes abortion and has an anti-immigrant rhetoric, “will not need to negotiate with anyone, it can write the Constitution it wants” and “will have the power to 'veto any amendment,' predicted Claudia Heiss, director of the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Chile, to AFP.
This is the second process of rewriting the Basic law of the land.
At the beginning of September 2022, the Chileans had rejected by 61.9% a first proposal for a new Constitution. This was to introduce new social rights, particularly in education, health and housing, to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and the right to abortion.
After the rejection by the voters, the country's main political parties had nevertheless decided to begin negotiations to relaunch the constitutional process.
The Council, whose members were elected on Sunday, will receive a preliminary draft drawn up by a committee of experts to which they will have to make adjustments and amendments. The text includes 12 essential principles which, however, cannot be modified. Among them, the fact that Chile is a market economy.
The project will then be submitted to a referendum on December 17.
The current Constitution, inherited from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), is considered, despite several successive revisions, as a brake on any fundamental social reform in Chile, the scene in 2019 of a great popular uprising.
“I still the hope that we can have a new Constitution. With the one we have, there are things that remain unresolved and that favor some more than others,” Francisco Carrasco, a 33-year-old aeronautical technician, told AFP after voting at a school in San Francisco. Bernardo, south of Santiago.
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