University of São Paulo: Chileans go to referendum this Sunday to decide on new constitution

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More than 15 million Chileans will go to the polls next Sunday (4) to decide whether or not the country will have a new Constitution. Voters will have to answer whether they approve or reject the text of the New Constitution proposed by the Parity Constitutional Convention, formed by 77 men and 77 women, installed in July 2021 and delivered to President Gabriel Boric last July. The current Magna Carta is a legacy of the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990. The 1980 Constitution was maintained and underwent reforms so that the regime went from dictatorial to democratic.

Professor Ester Rizzi, from the Public Policy Management course at the USP School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, who follows the plebiscite directly from Santiago to Rádio USP, explains that this constituent process is the result of “a massive and persistent popular revolt , which took first Santiago and then the whole country”.

Michelle Bachelet
In 2016, then-President Michelle Bachelet tried to draft a new constitution, but the process failed politically. “The impetus for the new Constitution […] arises with this revolt that was triggered in 2019. Among the many causes of the revolt, one of the facts that draw a lot of attention and that has been present in the demonstrations in Chile since 2011 is the fact that the State not guaranteeing basic social rights for the entire population, leaving health, education, social security and assistance to the private sector.” Esther explains that there is also a demand for greater political participation for women and indigenous people.

If this new Constitution is approved, Chile puts aside the neoliberal ideology and becomes a Social Democratic State of Law, as provided for in the first article of the new charter. “It is a huge change”, evaluates the teacher, carried out in a participatory, equal and democratic process, as stated in the preamble of the new Constitution.

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