Chile says emphatic no to proposed new constitution in referendum | News


Chileans rejected the proposal of a progressive constitution that would have replaced the one dating back to Pinochet’s time.

Chile voted resoundingly to reject a proposed new constitution that President Gabriel Boric said would usher in a new constitution. progressive erawith a result that far exceeded the expectations of the conservative opposition.

The new constitution will focus more on social rights, the environment and gender equality, than the current constitution adopted during the rule of military dictator Augusto Pinochet. It emerged from an agreement between lawmakers and protesters to end violent protests against inequality in 2019, in which dozens were killed.

With 99 percent of the votes counted at Sunday’s civic meeting, the rejection camp had 61.9 percent versus 38.1 percent in favor of the new text.

There have been reports of long queues at some of the more than 3,000 vote centers around the country with some 15 million Chileans eligible to take part in the referendum. Voting is required.

Polls in April predict that many voters plan to decline new constitution.

The approval camp has conceded defeat, with its spokesman Vlado Mirosevic saying: “We recognize this result and we listen with humility to what the Chilean people have shown.”

Boric, who has campaigned vigorously for the new text, said the results clearly show that people are “not satisfied with the constitutional proposal the convention has presented to Chile.”

Presidential setback

The proposed charter is the first in the world to be written by a convention equally divided between male and female delegates, but critics say it is too long, lacks clarity, and goes too far in some areas. measures, including describing Chile as a ‘multinational state’, establishing autonomous indigenous territories and prioritizing the environment.

Roberto Briones, 41, told the AP news agency after voting in the capital, Santiago: “The written constitution is currently leaning too far to one side and does not have the vision of all Chileans. “We all want a new constitution, but it needs a better structure.”

People line up in front of the yellow wall to vote in a referendum on a new constitution for Chile
Long queues were reported at many of the 3,000 vote centers across Chile [Matias Basualdo/AP Photo]

The result is a huge setback for President Gabriel Boric, who took office in March and, at 36, is Chile’s youngest president. He tied his fortunes so closely to the new document that analysts say it is likely that some voters viewed the referendum as a referendum on his government in November. when its approval rating was low.

“I think there are two things that explain what just happened. One is to reject the Boric government,” political analyst Cristobal Bellolio told Reuters news agency, adding that the other is identity politics related to indigenous and other issues.

Boric earlier said a new constitutional process must be started to comply with the 2020 referendum, where 80% of Chileans voted to draft a new constitution to replace the Pinochet-era text.

Other political factions say the existing text could be revised more simply using recently approved quorum adjustments.

Most Chileans and their politicians agreed that the constitution from the dictatorship must change.

Boric has called on the heads of all political parties to hold a meeting on Monday to chart the way forward and promise changes in the cabinet.

“We have to listen to the voice of the people. Not just today, but the last fierce years we went through,” said Boric. “That anger is latent, and we can’t ignore it.”

Close-up of an election official counting votes in a referendum
Analysts say the referendum result could also reflect anger towards the government of President Gabriel Boric, whose approval ratings have dropped. [Luis Hidalgo/AP Photo]

The president said he would also work with Congress and different sections of society to draft another text with lessons from Sunday’s rejection.

The centre-left and right-wing parties, which have promoted the rejection campaign, have also agreed to negotiate to prepare a new text.

Carlos Salinas, a spokesman for the House of Citizens, said the majority of Chileans see rejection as “a path of hope”.

“We want to say to the government of President Gabriel Boric… that ‘today you must be the president of all Chileans and we must move forward together,’” he said.

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