Chileans reject new constitution in plebiscite, President Boric promises new constitutional process : Peoples Dispatch

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The proposed draft constitution was transformed into President Gabriel Boric on July 4 by the Constitutional Convention. The bill, now rejected, would have declared Chile a “plurinational” state, recognizing the rights of Chile’s indigenous people, who make up nearly 13% of the population, to their lands and resources, as well as their right to autonomy and self-determination. for the first time in the country’s history. Photo: Constitutional Convention

On Sunday, September 4, in the exit plebiscite, Chileans voted against a new progressive constitution, which was to replace the current neoliberal one adopted in 1980 under the US-backed military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). .

According to the results published by the Chilean Electoral Service (SERVEL), with 100% among the votes counted, the “I refuse” option received 61.9% of the votes. Meanwhile, the “I approve” option got 38.1% of the vote. Voting was compulsory and 85.8%, out of 13 million citizens, exercised their right to vote.

The demand to rewrite the country’s dictatorship-era constitution was raised during the social uprising against inequality in October 2019. A year later, in October 2020, Chileans overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a new constitution during the entry plebiscite. In May 2021, they elected a majority of independent and left-wing candidates as members of the Constitutional Convention for this responsibility. Nevertheless, the proposed constitution could not please a large part of the voters. This is attributed to widespread misinformation and a divisive campaign by conservative sectors in mass media and social media.

While opinion polls predicted that voters would reject the proposed draft constitution, they failed to predict the overwhelming outcome. The last poll before the referendum suggested that 47% of voters intend to reject the draft constitution against 38% for yes and 17% for undecided.

When the trend was irreversible, the representatives of the political parties and social organizations that supported a new constitution acknowledged their defeat and assured that they would continue to work for a better and egalitarian country.

Deputy Karol Cariola of the Communist Party of Chile, spokesman for the “I approve” command, thanked all those who worked for the initiative and called on them to be proud of their efforts. She stressed that the 1980 constitution does not unite or represent the country and reiterated the need to build a path that leads to a new inclusive constitution.

“The teamwork of the ‘I approve’ command was a great experience and learning, which I enjoy and appreciate. Sometimes you win and other times you lose, that’s how democracy is. road is longer now. But I am sure that sooner rather than later we will have a new constitution,” Cariola said later. tweeted.

President Gabriel Boric, who had explicitly supported the new constitution and was banking on it to help him realize his vision for the country, pledged to continue working with Congress and civil society to propose a “new constitutional process”. .

In an address to the nation, Boric said that “the Chileans’ decision requires our institutions and our political leaders to work harder, with more dialogue, respect and attention, until we come to a proposal that reflects all of us, gives us confidence and unites us as a country. As President of the Republic, I take this message with great humility. We must listen to the voice of the people.

“I pledge to do my best to build, with the National Congress and civil society, a new constituent itinerary which gives us a text which, bringing together the lessons of this process, manages to interpret a large majority of citizens”, said he promised. .

In this regard, he added that he would “meet with the presidents of both houses of Congress and other authorities to define the guidelines that will allow a new constitutional process to begin”.

The now rejected draft would have declared Chile a “plurinational” state, recognizing the rights of Chile’s indigenous peoples, who make up nearly 13% of the population, to their lands and resources, as well as their right to autonomy and self-determination. for the first time in the country’s history. This would have addressed the country’s harsh inequalities, expanding social rights such as free health care, free higher education, affordable housing and decent pensions, thereby strengthening marginalized sectors. It would also have enshrined gender equality in all public institutions and enterprises, recognized domestic work, legalized abortions, and recognized the rights of people of diverse gender identities in a country where half the population is Roman Catholic. In addition, he would have guaranteed the protection of the environment, enjoining the State to fight against climate change and to recognize water rights, in a country whose economy depends largely on the extraction and copper and lithium production.

Several political and social leaders from all sectors, including some of those who led the campaign to reject the new charter, called for the convening of a new constitutional convention, pointing out that the text of the proposed constitution had been rejected. , and not the desire to have a new constitution.

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