Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Chile seeks a new Constitution: Why did the first attempt fail and why did the citizen’s interest decline?

WONDER: The crisis that the Boric government was leading to militarize the northern borders of Chile

I am writing a new one Magna Carta It is considered the greatest victory of the social uprising that began in October 2019 and in which thousands of protesters took the streets of Santiago and other cities for months to protest against the political and social inequality in the southern country.

In just one month, massive demonstrations have led political parties to call a referendum in which the public will decide if they want to rewrite their constitution. Scheduled to begin in April 2020, but delayed until October of the same year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the plebiscite showed the greatest outcome.

78.28% approved to replace the Magna Carta promulgated by Augusta Pinochet’s dictatorship. A similar number of voters (79%) also decided to do better by a . Constitutional Convention.

Of the 155 members that made up the commission, 103 were independent, mostly identifying with the center-left or the Chilean left, limiting traditional parties and especially the right (identified with the current government, headed by Sebastián Piñera) to barely 20% of the seats.

In those first days, 52% of the Chilean population declared that they felt “hopeful” about the process, according to a survey by Espacio Publico-Ipsos.

A series of scandals by some of these independents and proposals that did not find popular support, however, began to change the balance against those who make up the majority of the constitution.

The proposed text finally did not reach the green light in September 2022, when it was referred to a referendum in which the rejection option was imposed by 61.89% to 38.11% approval.

With this, the option to replace Magna Carta Pinochet seemed to be buried. Despite this, the current president Gabriel Boric He sent a proposal to Congress and the Senate for a new plan constituting process. On December 12 last year, the fourteen political parties of the three movements were beginning to enter into an agreement.

Rodrigo Rojas Vade Was Elected After He Became A Symbol Of The Protests, Claiming That He Was Undergoing Cancer Treatment.  An Investigation By The Press Soon After Revealed That It Was All A Hoax.  He Resigned After The Scandal And In February Of This Year Was Sentenced To 61 Days In Prison And Fined For Fraud.

Rodrigo Rojas Vade was elected after he became a symbol of the protests, claiming that he was undergoing cancer treatment. An investigation by the press soon after revealed that it was all a hoax. He resigned after the scandal and in February of this year was sentenced to 61 days in prison and fined for fraud.


another process

Major new changes constituting process Undoubtedly, they are used in mechanics.

This new effort began with the establishment of a Committee of Experts, whose members (24) were created by the Congress and the Senate. Next, the people will go to the polls on May 7 to elect a Constitutional Council.

“In this case it will be established by political parties and not by independent lists as in the previous process.” They begin meeting on June 7 and will have until November to propose the text of the new Constitution. The same was approved or rejected by the citizens on the 17th of December Trade Claudia Heiss, director of the political science program at the University of Chile.

“This whole process will be accompanied by a civil action process that will provide its work to the Constitutional Council. This will be established through the participation of the executive secretariat of the citizen, which will be established today (Tuesday) and will be led by the directors of the University of Chile and the Catholic University, which will try to organize the voice of citizens who do not belong. to the parties as they reach the process”, I retain the expert.

“There are many lessons to be learned from the past process, and for those of us who are integrating this new work, it is clear that there is no time to waste. I believe that the normative result was good, but it was tainted by various secondary conditions experienced and cannot be repeated. On the other hand, I believe that the opportunities for meeting and collaboration from the past process will be saved and I believe that this is the most important thing that on this occasion to translate the text – the preliminary draft of the new Constitution cannot be for one Chile. or the other, both have to join the lawyer from the Center for Constitutional Justice of the Universidad del Desarrollo, Gasparis Jenkins, comments to this newspaper.

The Proposed Text Of The New Constitution Failed In September 2022 With 61.89% Of Citizens Voting For Rejection, Compared To 38.11% Who Favored Approval.

The proposed text of the new Constitution failed in September 2022 with 61.89% of citizens voting for rejection, compared to 38.11% who favored approval.

“There are many lessons to be learned from the past process, and those of us who will integrate this new work clearly have no time to lose.”

Gaspar Jenkins, attorney at the Center for Constitutional Justice at the Universidad del Desarrollo

little difference

Aspired by the air of hope and revolution Chile However, towards the end of 2019 they seem to have changed dramatically.

Although 50.9% of the population agrees with the change ConstitutionAccording to the study Pulso Ciudadano – February by Activa, 57.1% of those surveyed declared that they had “not even a little confidence” in the new constituent process.

“Certainly. There is no interest in visible citizens, like those seen in the previous process, where there were many city councils, meetings and civil society networks to make their demands and objectives”, comments Heiss.

This is the exact opposite vision that Jenkins has.

“It is no less interesting, but I will say that it is sensationalism. I think the first will have a new hidden agenda and people are waiting to see what will come out of this new process. I think that because the body of the preparation is the Commission of Experts, there is an atmosphere of sobriety and confidence, but curiosity and expectation are still there,” he said.

For Heiss, the dissolution to which he refers would respond to three main reasons: the fatigue of so many elections, the rejection of referendums and the feeling that the decision has returned to the hands of elected politicians.

We have had 11 elections in two years. Which generates fatigue in the population. In addition, the proposal for a new Constitution was defeated, but 38% was a significant number of people and very much gathered. Today, as I say, I was very upset by the rejection of the proposal. And the people who join only by forced voting are generally not recruited at all. In short, this process is more elitist, more controlled by political parties and less civil”, he explains.

This New Constitutive Process Began With The Election Of The Commission Of Experts, Appointed By The Senate And Congress, Which Began Its Session On Monday, 6 Cal.

This new constitutive process began with the election of the Commission of Experts, appointed by the Senate and Congress, which began its session on Monday, 6 cal.


Heiss is most concerned about the government’s elite political convention on December 12. In it, the legal bases are highlighted which cannot be changed in the new one Magna Carta and he buries the new desires of those who invite him to a new word in 2019.

“The right was confirmed in September’s Rejection and could impose some limits on the process, which of course the left would have wanted to go much further. Definition of the social state, which guarantees the participation of the state in the provision of social services, for example. Even if a large part of the majority of the left party came out in May, I could not change it, because it is the principle of the constitution, “explains Heiss.

Jenkins, for his part, rejects the argument that the process “falls into the same hands as always”, so that political actors are renewed for this new stage.

“There are many new faces and experts who are eager and hungry to present their ideas and materials in the text. Noting that the constitutional text is a very political and clear act, the parties have participated at least indirectly, but that is not why some groups have been or will be isolated and will not be an obstacle to establishing change – the Council will be important. to play a role in that sense,” argued the lawyer.

What to expect before the end of the year?

The final thermometer for Chile – at least in this second constitutive process – will be December 17. On that day, citizens will have to go to the polls to take part in a new referendum and vote, once again to approve or reject the proposal that the Commission then decided.

What do the experts think will happen in December?

“The scene is complex because it would really be quite unfortunate and very negative for the Chilean state to have a new refusal. If this new proposal fails, we will have to continue with the Constitution of 1980, which is the most possible mission. I hope that the process will be strong to overcome all these issues and to a new Constitution to achieve,” says Heiss.

“It is a process that will contribute to the democratization of the political system, but that will not bring drastic or radical changes” as some sectors expected after the social upheaval. I believe that this will be a step forward in the direction of Chilean democracy. My impression is that people will eventually, perhaps without much effort, understand that what comes out of this negotiation is going to be much more popular than the Constitution imposed by Pinochet. I think it’s probably probable,” added the expert.

“I think it is probable that at this time the proposal of the new Constitution will be approved”;

Claudia Heiss, director of the political science major at the University of Chile

“There’s definitely more work to do now than it was the first time around. First, you need to refresh the population with the concept of this new constituent process and second, make them fall in love with the new text. Our expectation is clearly to have the same or more citizens’ participation than in the past process in electing councilors and the outcome of the plebiscite, then finally we can say that we have achieved the initial goal, which should have a Constitution for all Chileans. Jenkins answers for his part.

“Responses to you people with the concept of this new constituent process and second, make them in love with the new text.”

Gaspar Jenkins is a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Justice at the Universidad del Desarrollo.

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