The Points of Contention for a New Constitution in Chile

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Now, the Government of the Chilean president, Gabriel Boric, agrees again to a debate in the elaboration of the new constitution.

gabriel boric

Photo: Government of Chile

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Los puntos de la discordia para una nueva constitución en Chile

Chile continues on its way to be able to draft a new constitution. Its plans to leave behind the current one, which was written during the period of the dictator Augusto Pinochet, are still maintained. Likewise, the desire of the millions of Chileans who went out to march a couple of years ago and who later approved the creation of a new Magna Carta is maintained.

If it is true that the intention of the Government and the majority of Chileans is a new text, the final project proposed by the Constitutional Assembly was rejected at the polls. It is for this reason that the Boric administration announced last week that it will once again ask the political movements to meet and vote on a new text.

Boric himself said in his address: "Once again, despite the difficulties, we have decided to solve the problems of democracy with more democracy and not with less." For this reason, after almost 3 months of negotiations between various sectors, Congress resumed the process of drafting a new text. For this, it will begin with creating a preliminary project. This will be prepared by an Expert Commission of 24 people that will be defined in January 2023.

After this text is finalized and approved by several new bodies and already working, it will be submitted again to a ratification plebiscite. This will be scheduled for November 26, 2023, and will be mandatory voting.

In this way, the Constitutional Convention that drafted the last text will be replaced by the Constitutional Council. This will have new members and will go from 155 to 50 members.
However, it will be vital that the constituents take into account the most controversial points of the past text to convince the majorities. Whether they find compromises or give in entirely on other issues, if there is no change, the likely outcome is another democratic defeat. What will now be important to evaluate is to know in which points both sides are willing to give up and in which they are not.

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Among the points that received the most rejection in the past text are:

Take care of fiscal spending. Specialized media, such as The Economist, warned that the past project put Chile's fiscal spending at risk.

For conservative and religious groups, including abortion as a constitutional right was a reason for rejection and a campaign against the text.

Write a text that does not favor ambiguities. The previous project had several points open to interpretation, and this also generated mistrust within various sectors.

The last text spoke of the plurinationality of Chile. This, with respect to the native communities of the country. However, opponents of the constitution claimed that this jeopardized the consolidation of Chile as a nation.

The disappearance of the bicameral system to establish a single legislative chamber. Opponents saw in this proposal a possible weakening of the independence of the branches of power.

On September 4, 2022, 62% of voters rejected the text of the new Constitution through a plebiscite. Boric hopes that the new drafting process advances as soon as possible and can finally be approved.