Chile rejects the new Constitution with an ultra-conservative seal

The count points to a rejection of the new ultra-conservative Constitution in Chile. As the polls predicted, the majority of Chileans (55.68% compared to 44.32%) have voted against the proposal for a new Constitution that bears the seal of the extreme right and the traditional right, certifying the failure of the process to replace the current Magna Carta, inherited from the dictatorship, which began with the 2019 protests.

The conservative Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party, which supported the new document, was the first to come out to recognize the results and its leader, Javier Macaya, said that Chileans “do not want a constitutional change,” Efe reports.

“Let’s see if after two failed processes the need to reach agreements is consolidated in Chile because finally the first project (rejected) was from the left and the second from the right,” said the president of Cristina Democracy, Alberto Undurraga (center).

This Sunday’s result is a setback for the far-right Republican Party, which had a fundamental role in the drafting of the new text and aspired to become the hegemonic force of the right.

“Regardless of the result, we are going to continue working for the people’s priorities,” said President Boric after casting his vote, who has not been directly involved in this election, unlike what he did in last year’s plebiscite.

The option to reject the constitutional proposal was imposed in the majority of the country’s sixteen regions, especially in the capital, Valparaíso (center) and the northern Antofagasta.

Project opposite to the previous one

Chileans went to the polls this Sunday to decide in a new mandatory plebiscite whether they approved the proposal or maintained the current Constitution, born in the regime of Augusto Pinochet, but successively reformed into democracy.

More than 15 million voters were called to vote for or against the new text, radically opposed to the previous project, considered avant-garde and resoundingly rejected. Although the polls pointed to the rejection of the new text, the population in favor had been rising in recent weeks and the stage was open, mainly due to the number of undecided people. Finally, according to the results released at the end of the afternoon, the majority of citizens have leaned towards the option against the new text, defended by the left.

After the vote last May, the Constitutional Council that drafted this new proposal has been dominated by the traditional right and in particular by the far-right Republican Party, chaired by José Antonio Kast. Among the points that have generated the most controversy are those related to abortion and reproductive rights, migration, property and the right to water, equality, the health and pension system, and the notion of a social and democratic State of law. .

Various constitutionalists had warned that the proposed draft contained legal gaps and errors, so if approved it should be immediately amended, according to the EFE Agency.

It was the second attempt to draft a new constitution that Chile is experiencing after the forceful rejection in September 2022 of a project written by a progressive majority convention that proposed a radical transformation of the institutions and was a pioneer in enshrining free abortion and protection enviroment. Like a pendulum, the Latin American country went in just over two years from writing it and subsequently rejecting it to handing the baton of the second constituent process to the extreme right.

After the rejection, the current Pinochet Constitution will remain in force and the constitutional debate will be closed, at least during this term, because the Government of Gabriel Boric has already said that it will not promote a third attempt. Without room for this, any progress on constitutional matters will have to go through a reform in Congress.

Analysts and experts agree that, no matter what happened, the conservatives would always win in these elections: either the text emanating from the council they led was imposed or the current norm remains, which they never wanted to replace. On the other hand, those who insisted for decades on changing the text inherited from the dictator had now found themselves in the dilemma of having to support it to avoid another “more restrictive” rule.

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