Amid a constitutional process that has kept Chile in suspense for months, the changes proposed by the Republican Party in the Constitutional Council have sparked deep controversy in the country. To shed light on this issue, José Ignacio Núñez, doctor of law and academic at the Autonomous University, has shared his analysis and perspectives on the republican changes and their impact with Mirna Schindler in a new chapter of Al Pan Pan.
The term “identity changes” is used by Dr. Núñez criticizes him for being pompous and empty. According to him, all constitutional amendments and proposals relate to a concept of identity. Instead, the focus should be on understanding the concept of the Constitution that the Republican Party uses and what it means for the country.
“The underlying question is this: What concept of the Constitution does the Republican Party use or intend to implement?” he said.
One of Núñez’s central concerns is the possible transformation of the Constitution into an “expanded” and “maximalist” entity that addresses issues of moral relevance such as abortion, denial and prison for people convicted of crimes against humanity. He pointed out that these changes could not only regulate future debates, but also nullify previously implemented public policies, such as the three-cause abortion law.
When it comes to protecting life, Núñez emphasizes the difference between the use of the terms “who” and “what.” While “that” refers to the object of protection, “who” implies an interpretation that life begins at conception, which he believes is highly controversial and moralistic.
A “moral vision” of life through the Constitution
The analysis by Dr. Núñez also expands on the possible consequences of these changes. Protecting the life of the unborn child could pave the way for questioning the morning-after pill and other forms of emergency contraception. In addition, institutional conscientious objection, which allows institutions or companies to resist certain legal obligations, raises ethical problems and can lead to unexpected situations such as tax evasion.
“By attempting to erase all advances in sexual and reproductive rights, the Constitution is imposing a moral vision of life,” he said.
“This conscientious objection could also lead to a company deciding not to pay taxes, since with the conscientious objection I can prove or demonstrate that I hold and respect certain beliefs and can resist the obligations that are imposed on me “It is a right to resist state constraints,” the scientist added, warning that there are also health implications, such as denying the existence of climate change or a pandemic.
In this sense, Núñez repeats the question of what the Republican Party is proposing: “Is it a constitution, a regulation or a government program? Or is it a regulation that allows a presidential campaign to reach the government?”
Maybe we’ll get shaved
Another aspect that worries the expert is the ambiguity of some changes and their possible impact on the involvement of the judiciary in the formulation of public policies. According to Núñez, this could tie the hands of the legislature and the government by leaving judges to interpret the Constitution according to their own ethical positions.
The analysis by Dr. Núñez points out that the proposed changes could lead to a more conservative and moral constitution than the one in 1980. He also criticizes the attempt to transform the Constitution into a “gospel” rather than a set of legal norms. Ultimately, he points out that the current constitutional process could lead to a less favorable outcome than the status quo and regrets the lack of technical focus in the discussions in the Constitutional Council.
“For those who want a constitution adapted to the 21st century, the landscape is quite inhospitable. For those who want to maintain the status quo and even undo progress, the landscape looks pretty good,” he explained. And he warned: “If the trend continues, we may find ourselves falling short in this crucial moment when it comes to what we could have advanced.”
According to Núñez: “If you look at the amendments, the Constitution is intended to be a kind of gospel and not legal norms, establishing a list of commandments that are sacrosanct for a sector, and at the same time this is stated contradictorily.” The state cannot establish official truths . So the elbow doesn’t even erase progress; rather, the same norms contradict each other. And that’s dangerous.”