President Pinera says the assembly drafting a new constitution to replace the Pinochet-era charter will begin work on July 4th.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has said that the assembly to draft a new constitution will hold its first session on July 4, as the South American country moves toward replacing its current Conservative charter of the it was of the dictatorship.
The rewriting of the constitution is the result of a broad political consensus agreed after widespread social protests that erupted in late 2019 over inequality.
“This convention certainly represents a great opportunity to achieve a new constitution that all Chileans will recognize and respect under a framework of unity and stability for the future of our democracy,” Pinera said Sunday.
Over the course of nine months, the 155-member drafting body will have to balance a popular outcry for profound social change with the need to maintain a robust economy as it rewrites the old constitution, which dates back to the government of August Pinochet.
Its term could be extended by three more months and the body will need a two-thirds majority to approve the draft, which will be submitted to a national referendum next year, in which voting will be mandatory.
Chile’s existing constitution dates back to 1980, enacted at the height of Pinochet’s 1973-1990 government, and limits the role of the state while strengthening private enterprise.
Many are to blame for the deep roots between rich and poor, but acclaimed by others, mostly on the right, for the country’s many decades of economic growth.
In choosing the body to write the new letter, voters in May turned their backs on traditional political parties and turned to independent candidates with no party affiliation, but mostly left-wing or socialist ideas.
Many of the independent candidates – an assortment of professors, writers, journalists, lawyers and activists – participated in or were inspired by the 2019 riots and campaigned with promises of social change.