A large majority has rejected this Sunday the proposal for a new Constitution in Chile with almost 62% of the votes, a result that currently maintains the current text, written in 1980 by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and partially reformed in democracy.
“The people of Chile have spoken and they have done so loudly and clearly,” Chilean President Gabriel Boric acknowledged on a national network. The president, a supporter of constitutional change, has announced that as of this Monday he will work hand in hand with “civil society and Congress” to seek a “constituent itinerary” and speed up a new process. The categorical results, he added, “demand our institutions to work until we arrive at a proposal that interprets us all, that gives confidence”.
The option of approving the new text, which declares Chile a social State of law and has been defined as the most feminist and one of the most avant-garde in the world in terms of gender equality and nature protection, has reaped only 38 % of support, with more than 95% of the votes counted.
Triumph in all 16 regions
The option of rejecting the new text has been imposed in the 16 regions of the country, including the Metropolitan -which houses the capital- and the coastal Valparaíso, where it has won against all odds with 55.4% and 57.6%, respectively. In south central regions such as Ñuble, Araucanía or Maule, the “Rejection” has prevailed by more than 70%, taking up to 30 points from the ‘Approve’. “Today there are no winners or losers. There are Chileans that we have to meet again”, said the leader of the rejection campaign, Claudio Salinas.
“We want to call for calm, to be proud of the work done (…) The 1980 Constitution does not unite us or represent us,” said communist deputy Karol Cariola, spokesperson for the campaign for approval. .
The forcefulness of the results is reminiscent of the plebiscite of October 2020, called to channel the wave of protests of 2019 and where 78.2% of Chileans decided to start a constituent process and draft a new Constitution. Two years later, Chileans are not satisfied with the text that was drafted for a year by a convention of democratically elected citizens just for that purpose, with gender parity and seats reserved for indigenous people.
“Does not unite the country”
The multinational nature of the State, the right to voluntary interruption of pregnancy, presidential reelection, the justice system and the elimination of the Senate are some of the issues included in the new text that have generated more controversy among citizens.
The two official coalitions I Approve Dignity and Democratic Socialism had promised to reform the text and moderate the most controversial aspects if approved, but it has not been enough to convince voters.
Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in the wealthiest neighborhoods of the capital to celebrate the result, with Chilean flags and singing the national anthem. “It is a text that does not unite the country, that confronts us, it seems more like a government program,” said the Christian Democrat senator Ximena Rincón, one of the faces of the center that distanced herself from her party and campaigned against the constitutional proposal .
For Robert Funk, from the University of Chile, “neither the process nor the text were sufficient, in times of economic insecurity, inflation and unemployment.”