The rejected constitutional proposal should have replaced the existing constitutional text. This goes back to the time of the Pinochet dictatorship.
It is clear that the Chileans rejected the new draft constitution. About 62 percent spoke against the change to the Basic Law, as announced by the Chilean electoral authority after nearly all votes were counted. About 38 percent voted for Magna Carta, which would fundamentally change the South American country.
According to preliminary data from the electoral authorities, more than 13 out of about 15 million eligible voters in Chile participated in the referendum. The choice was mandatory. Recent opinion polls have indicated the possibility of rejecting the advanced draft. Then the clarity surprised.
The new constitution, which focuses on social and environmental rights, gender equality and indigenous rights, should replace the existing text. This goes back to the time of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The Constituent Assembly has been working on a project for a year.
Possible reasons for apparent rejection
According to freelance reporter Klaus Eringfeld, three aspects led to the ballot being rejected. for the first time “Fear and Dirt Campaign” opposition to the constitution. For example, people were told that they would lose ownership of their homes if the constitution was adopted.
Another point is Dissatisfaction with Chilean President Gabriel Borek, says Iringfield. The journalist is currently in Santiago de Chile. Many people blame Borek for high inflation and rising crime. Even if these are issues his government may not be able to do anything about.”
Third, Erringfield calls the first Voting obligation. Three to five million Chileans went to vote for the first time. They are not tied to the political system. Perhaps they were more annoyed with having to vote if they didn’t want to pay a heavy fine. And they were more inclined to say no.”
Chilean President Gabriel Borek has acknowledged the success of opponents of the new constitution. The rejection is a serious blow to his government.
The parties are now calling for Borek and his government to talk together about a new Constituent Assembly. Because everyone from the far left to the moderate right agree that they want a new constitution. Borek himself has already announced that he has already called a meeting with political parties. It’s also about putting a new interim method in Congress, said Borek, according to freelance reporter Klaus Eringfeld.
So it’s also about how the next new Constituent Assembly will be formed. “Operational” adjustments are needed, says the freelance correspondent in Chile. Because the current assembly consists practically only of activists, social organizations, representatives of the left – not the right – and very few political parties. “It would be more traditional, more conservative, and more consistent.”
There will also be modifications to the content. Eringfield mentions aspects in focus: the rights of Parliament and the President, the power of centralization and territories, abortion and indigenous rights. “Many Chileans have noted that indigenous peoples enjoy broad rights, including within their jurisdiction that regulates their affairs.”
Also a vote on the government
Borek was elected president of Chile in December at the age of 35 and committed himself to a new constitution. Among other things, he promised public education and a health system based on the European welfare state model. So the vote on the draft also evolved into a vote on the government.
After mass protests against social injustice in 2019, nearly 80 percent of Chileans spoke out in favor of drafting a new constitution. However, the last ballot before the election showed that public support had waned due to concerns about some of the proposals and controversy over those involved in drafting them.
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