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Academics, feminists, former ministers, indigenous people: the profiles that can define the political future of Chile


This weekend, 1,268 candidates seek to be elected to the 155-person body that will draft the new fundamental rule; a tour of twelve nominations reveals what is at stake

After the social outbreak of October 2019, Chile found a political solution in the promise of a new Constitution. This weekend, 19 months after the greatest crisis that Chilean democracy has faced since the end of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, 31 years ago, 14.7 million citizens are summoned to elect in a double shift - Saturday and Sunday - to those who will write the new fundamental charter of the country. There are 1,268 candidates who aspire to be elected to enter a constituent body of 155 members, in a country where the vote is voluntary and abstention does not take off from 50%, in the middle of a pandemic that has left more than 27,000 dead. The convention will have parity between men and women, something that has never happened before in the world, and there will be 17 seats reserved for indigenous peoples,the highest number ever known internationally, including the latest constituent processes that have occurred in Latin America.

The expectation is high: it is an election that has been described as the most important since 1990, when Chile regained democracy after 17 years of dictatorship. The elected representatives will have the mission of drafting the new Constitution that will replace the current one, established in 1980 by the military regime. There are five lists that compete on a national scale, made up mainly of parties, although there are dozens made up of independent candidates and various social organizations. Among the more than a thousand applicants to be part of the convention, a dozen profiles allow us to glimpse the diversity and the desire for transformation - or defense of the established - that are at stake in the conformation of the Assembly. Citizens who, if their triumph is confirmed,they will have the privilege and responsibility to write the history of their country.

Agustin Squella

He is not a politician, but a university academic.

Essayist and professor from Valparaíso, how he likes to introduce himself.

The lawyer Agustín Squella (Santiago, 1944) is one of the most recognized intellectuals in Chile, winner of the National Prize for Social Sciences in 2009. A columnist for different media, he defines himself above all as a liberal.

He has never been a member of a party and for this election he pushed to facilitate the candidacy of independents.

Given the complex scenario for candidates who go outside the lists of the large communities, Squella chose to run with the support of the Liberal Party.

From the moderate left, Squella sounds like a possible convention president.

Chilean politician Agustín Esquella in an image of his campaign.RR.


Alondra Carrillo

Women have been the spearhead of Chilean social mobilization, even before the October 2019 riots. They have shown their strength in the streets and in the territories and have starred in the protest, with anthems that have had a worldwide impact such as

A rapist in your way

, from the LasTesis collective, against sexist violence.

With a view to drafting a new Constitution, the feminist movement has organized from different fronts and the 8M Coordinator has drawn up its own list, apart from the political parties (Constituent Voices).

Alondra Carrillo, 29-year-old psychologist from the Catholic University, is one of the candidates of this group.

She advocates a Constitution with a feminist approach and, since she is not a member of any community, she had to gather her own sponsorships.

She was the third applicant with the highest support from firms (nine thousand), which will allow her to compete for the 12th district of Santiago.

Alondra Carrillo Vidal is a psychologist from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

She is part of the 8M.RS / RS Feminist Coordinator

José Andrés Murillo

He is one of the central figures of independent civil society of the last decade. José Andrés Murillo, doctor of Philosophy, was one of the victims of the influential Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, accused of sexual abuse. His complaint put the Chilean Catholic Church on the ropes, due to the great power accumulated by the abuser. Murillo (45) heads the Trust for Trust, which fights against child sexual abuse. In 2018, he also founded the global organization Ending Clergy Abuse, and, in 2019, the research center on abuse and early adversity at the Catholic University, where he works as an academic. Without political militancy, he is running on the Independientes list for a new Constitution. "I am independent, but I am not neutral," he wrote in his bid to become a candidate."My position is based on human rights, dignity and, in particular, the rights of children and adolescents," added Murillo.

José Andrés Murillo, independent candidate for the Constitutional Convention for the 10th district RS

Marcela cubillos

He is one of the most important figures on the Chilean right and one of the most attached to the doctrine. Marcela Cubillos (Viña del Mar, 1967) is a member of the right-wing UDI party and is a constitutional lawyer, making it one of the strongest letters from her community to reach the convention. She is running for the 11th district of Santiago —the eastern zone, which includes the municipality of Las Condes—, which offers her good chances of being elected, since it is a stronghold favorable to the ruling party. She has been a deputy and was Minister of Environment and Education during the current Government of Sebastián Piñera (2018-2022). After resigning the Executive in February 2020, Cubillos became one of the visible faces of the Rejection campaign, which refused to change the Constitution in the plebiscite of October last year.Despite the fact that this option obtained only 20%, the main defenders of the current Constitution seek to enter the convention to defend certain norms. They should try to get at least a third of the convention to be able to negotiate and veto, since the agreements will be reached with a quorum of two thirds, as previously established.

Marcela Cubillos Sigall: lawyer, politician and television panelist, militated against the reform of the Constitution.

Felipe Harboe

Until the beginning of 2021, Felipe Harboe was a senator for the PPD party, one of the members of the center-left Concertación that governed Chile between 1990 and 2010, which part of the new generations look on with suspicion. But this 48-year-old lawyer resigned his seat to run for the constituent convention, as did at least two other congressmen from other parties (deputies Hugo Gutiérrez, a communist, and Renato Garín, an independent). Harboe, who was undersecretary of the Interior in the Ricardo Lagos Administration (2000-2006), is one of the traditional and well-known figures of Chilean politics, although he does not belong by age to the generation that led the transition to democracy. Today he represents a moderate and minority wing of the opposition,that it has lost its centrist vocation in the disorderly and polarized Chilean political map.

Felipe Harboe, former senator and candidate for constituent for the Ñuble Region (District 19).


Natividad Llanquileo

He grew up and lived until he was 18 years old in the Esteban Yevilao community, in Arauco, Biobío region, in the south of the country. When Natividad Llanquileo migrated to the capital when she came of age, she did so to work cleaning jobs, as many Mapuche women do due to the lack of opportunities. Llanquileo, however, had another purpose: to study law to support his community. As she has related on several occasions, one of the reasons that led her to pursue this career was the impotence of seeing from a young age the constant raids in the area, within the framework of the historical conflict over land between the Chilean State and the Mapuche communities. . In 2010, Llanquileo took on a task that made her known and that she remembers as one of the most difficult in her life:take the role of spokesperson for the hunger strike carried out by 35 community members, including two of her brothers, detained in prisons in the southern area. They demanded the repeal of the antiterrorist law. A decade later, Llanquileo - a 36-year-old lawyer with a diploma in Human Rights, Public Policy and Interculturality - seeks to advance towards a plurinational State, a more sustainable economic model and strengthen the catalog of rights guaranteed in the new Constitution. He is applying to occupy one of the 17 seats reserved for indigenous peoples, of which seven will be for the Mapuches.Public Policies and Interculturality - seeks to advance towards a plurinational State, a more sustainable economic model and to strengthen the catalog of rights guaranteed in the new Constitution. He is applying to occupy one of the 17 seats reserved for indigenous peoples, of which seven will be for the Mapuches.Public Policies and Interculturality - seeks to advance towards a plurinational State, a more sustainable economic model and to strengthen the catalog of rights guaranteed in the new Constitution. He is applying to occupy one of the 17 seats reserved for indigenous peoples, of which seven will be for the Mapuches.

Natividad Llanquileo, lawyer member of the Southern Research and Defense Center (CIDSUR) and Mapuche constituent candidate.RS

More information

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Adolfo Millabur

Of the 90 candidates who aspire to occupy one of the 17 seats reserved for indigenous peoples, the Mapuche Adolfo Millabur is one of those with the most political experience. As backed by a large organization, the Lafkenche Territorial Identity, some are betting that it might even win the first majority. The 54-year-old leader seeks to enter the convention to write a new story for his people, according to himself. And he knows well what it means to open spaces for his community: in 1996 he was elected mayor of the Tirúa commune, located 700 kilometers from Santiago. He was the first Mapuche to become mayor in the history of Chile and he remained in office until January 2021, when he decided to resign to run for the convention. “When we talk about a new Constitution, how to organize the State,We must think about the interests of the territories and there the Mapuche have to contribute ”, he said during his campaign.

The Mapuche politician Adolfo Millabur in an image of his campaign.RR.


Constance Valdes

“Trans people have historically been discriminated against, excluded and relegated from political spaces. If at the convention we do not achieve direct representation of trans people and the LGBTIQ community, in general, it will be difficult for us to have a Constitution that represents us, ”analyzes the 29-year-old candidate Constanza Valdés. Five years ago he began his transition process, when he finished his law studies at Diego Portales University, one of the most important private universities in the country. Valdés became an activist and played a leading role in the processing of the gender identity law. Approved in 2019, the norm allows trans people like Valdés to be able to modify their legal documents without having to resort to a cumbersome process before the Justice, as was his case.A member of the Comunes party of the Frente Amplio conglomerate (similar to Podemos, from Spain), she is a member of the Association of Feminist Lawyers (Abofem).

Trans activist Constanza Valdés in an image of her campaign.RR.


Luis Mayol

Chilean lawyer, businessman and union leader, Luis Mayol (Santiago de Chile, 1952) is a member of the National Renovation, a party of the ruling coalition Chile Vamos. Known for leading the National Society of Agriculture (SNA), the oldest business association in the country, he served as Minister of Agriculture in the first Government of Sebastián Piñera (2010-2014). During Piñera's second administration (2018-2022) he has been mayor in Araucanía, an area that faces an escalation in the conflict between the Chilean State and the Mapuche communities for the dominion of the ancestral lands of the indigenous people. "The recognition of native peoples must be aimed at highlighting their cultural importance and achieving effective equality among all Chileans, without establishing privileged groups",Mayol points out in his programmatic proposal.

Luis Alejandro Abel Mayol Bouchon Chilean lawyer, businessman and union leader.

He served as mayor of the Araucanía Region.


Natalia Aravena

Natalia Aravena's life changed forever on the afternoon of October 28, 2019. She was 25 years old and had been working as a nurse for just over a year. That afternoon he had planned to meet with a friend in front of the Government Palace, La Moneda, to participate in a demonstration, part of the social outbreak that exploded a few days before in Santiago and in different cities of the country. But a tear gas bomb hit his face and caused the loss of his right eyeball. "This, far from stopping me, gave me more strength and reasons to continue in this fight," said Aravena, who decided to found a group that brings together part of the 343 people who, according to government figures, suffered eye trauma during the protests of the social outbreak. Although he does not play in parties,Aravena accepted a quota of Social Convergence - one of the collectivities that make up the Broad Front -, to try to reach the body that will draft the new Constitution. Its objective: to represent those who demonstrated in 2019, leave behind “a neoliberal model” and move towards a State that takes care of “the basic needs of the people”.

Natalia Aravena is a nurse who lost her right eye during mass protests in 2019.Esteban Felix / AP

Heinrich Von Baer

It is one of those that, for years, has promoted the need to decentralize Chile, a country with a marked territorial inequality between the capital and the rest of the regions. 77-year-old Heinrich Von Baer is not a member of any party, although he is running for a quota of the Christian Democracy (center-left) in the 23rd district of Temuco (Araucanía). Its historic struggle has been to promote decentralization, an issue that this weekend will begin to take shape: Chile, for the first time in its history, will hold democratic elections to elect its regional governors (it was the only OECD country that did not elect to its intermediate authorities, together with Turkey). In the program of its candidacy, the Christian Democrats propose to direct Chile to a decentralized unitary State,in which each one of the regions has a government "that democratically represents the wishes and interests of the Chileans of the respective territory."

Heinrich von Baer, ​​academic at the Universidad de la Frontera and president of the Fundación Chile Descentralizado.RS / RS

Barbara Figueroa

A 42-year-old communist militant, in 2012 she became the first woman to lead the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), the main union group in Chile, which brings together, among others, the union of teachers and tax employees. At that time, the graduate in Psychology and professor of Philosophy also became the first woman to head a multunion union in Latin America. Daughter of José Figueroa, a historical leader of the Communist Party, at the age of 15 she entered the military in the Communist Youth. In 2011, he assumed an important role in the articulation between the multi-union and student organizations during the protests of the university students against the first government of Sebastián Piñera and, in this decade, he has become a widely known figure on the Chilean public scene. Figueroa,who presides over the CUT, now seeks to represent the world of trade unions in the body that will draft the new Constitution.

Bárbara Figueroa Sandoval, graduated in Psychology and professor of Philosophy, is the first woman to head a multunion union at the Latin American level. RS / RS

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2021-05-16

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