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Chile concluded a historic election to seek more equality with a new Constitution

2021-05-18T09:17:45.746Z

In addition to constituents, Chileans voted for mayors, councilors and, for the first time, regional governors, in another step toward a more participatory society.



05/16/2021 8:14 PM

  • Clarín.com

  • World

Updated 05/16/2021 8:14 PM

Chile concluded this Sunday an unprecedented two-day election

to elect the 155 citizens

who will draft a new Constitution and thus bury the one inherited from the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, with the expectation of creating new rules that allow greater social equity.

The polling places began to close at six in the afternoon (19 in Argentina) after two electoral days in which there were no incidents.

On Saturday, more than three million voters (20.44%) out of a total of 14.9 million called to vote voluntarily went to the polls.

Chileans had to choose among 1,373 candidates

to join the Constitutional Convention, among them actors, writers, teachers, social activists, lawyers and also traditional politicians.

The previous Magna Carta, drawn up during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990), is

considered to be the origin of social inequalities in Chile.

The election was held in two days due to the pandemic, after being postponed for five weeks, from April 11, in the face of a new wave of covid-19.

"

This is the most important election

that Chileans have had, this will mark the future of the younger generations," Felipe Gutiérrez, a 32-year-old engineer on leaving a polling station in Santiago, told AFP.

The data on participation by regions and communes indicate an important difference in the influx of voters in the wealthiest and most conservative sectors, markedly greater than in poorer areas.

The constitutional reform was the way that the Chilean political system found

to appease the massive demonstrations

that broke out on October 18, 2019, leaving about thirty deaths and millionaire damages in commerce and public furniture.

Political agreement

Almost a month after the beginning of those protests, when several buildings were burning in Santiago, the political forces

announced an agreement

to call a plebiscite to decide on the change of the Constitution, which was finally held on October 25, 2020.

An overwhelming 80% supported the "I approve" option

for constitutional change on a day that culminated in massive demonstrations.

The 20% who opted for the "Rejection" concentrated in the three richest communes in Chile.

"I come (to vote) with the expectation that we can achieve a change for the country, that we can build a new Constitution very distant from that Constitution left to us by the dictatorship," Guillermo Guzmán, a 57-year-old architect, told AFP .

In addition to constituents, Chileans

vote on the occasion for mayors, councilors and, for the first time, regional governors

, in another step towards a more participatory society.

The constitutional process also marks the first time in the world that a Constitution will be written by people elected equally.

It will also make history by reserving

17 places at the convention for the 10 indigenous peoples.

"I can confess that I voted only for women, I did not give my vote to any man because I believe that it is also part of the change, that women can take positions of power and that they listen to us," said Fabiola Melo, educational psychologist from 35 years.

The hope of the political world is that the constituent process - which

will last nine months

, extendable only once for three months - will turn the page on the long political transition that began once Chile regained democracy in 1990.

Never before have Chileans had the opportunity to participate in the drafting and vote for a new Constitution, which, according to various polls, they hope will guarantee them various social rights, such

as access to health, housing or education.

"A good part of the

future of our country is

at stake here to write a Constitution that unites us, not one that separates us, like the current one," said progressive presidential candidate Heraldo Muñoz, after casting his vote on Saturday.

A survey by the company Criteria, released by the newspaper La Tercera, showed on Saturday that

63% of Chileans trust

that the result of the new Constitution will have "positive consequences for the country."

A minority is afraid, however, that it could lead to a very leftist Constitution that radically changes Chile's ultra-liberal economic and political model.

Source: AFP and AP

PB


Look also

Chile and the mother of all elections

Chile begins a key election and seeks to leave behind the legacy of the dictatorship

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-05-18

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