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Former President Lagos proposes that the constitutional process of Chile continue after the plebiscite

2022-07-05T21:46:56.964Z

The exmandatario removes the country's political board by asking that the new Fundamental Charter, which will be endorsed in September, arouse greater consensus: "A Constitution cannot be partisan"



Without informing the public whether he will vote to approve or reject the proposed new Constitution in the plebiscite on September 4 – something he does not plan to do – former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos (2000-2006) has removed the country's political board just 24 hours after the convention finished its work on Monday and presented the final text.

In a public statement, the Social Democrat did not focus on his own position or on the result of the referendum, but on the problems that the country will face whatever the result, given that any option will predictably win by a narrow result and leave a country polarized

“Chile deserves a Constitution that arouses consensus and since neither of the two texts that may result from the plebiscite is in a position to achieve it, the political challenge is to continue with the constitutional debate until reaching a Constitution that interprets the majority of Chilean men and women”, assured the former president in reference to the text proposed by the constitutional convention and the text of the current Constitution, which would remain in force in Chile in case of winning the option of those who reject the change.

Lagos's opinion has been highly anticipated.

Another of the former democratic presidents, the Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (1996-2000), signed an appeal for his party, the Christian Democracy, to leave its militants free to act (the resolution will be taken this Wednesday).

Former president Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010 and 2014-2018) has already announced that she is inclined to approve, although she stated that she had not yet read the text.

Due to the political history of Lagos – a staunch opponent of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, where the current Magna Carta has its origins – it was unlikely that he would call to reject the proposal, so it seemed likely that, if he did, he would express his option for I

approve

.

Already at the end of the year he justified his vote for Gabriel Boric in the second round by appealing, precisely, to his own political history.

But, although Lagos will not announce his vote before the referendum – he does not want to be on one side or the other, they say in his circle – he indirectly qualified the proposed text: “A Constitution cannot be partisan”.

The word "partisan" was the same one used by President Gabriel Boric when he visited the constituent assembly in March, a few days after taking office: "I do not expect a partisan convention in any case," Boric assured on that occasion, referring to the fact that the majority of the convention – from the left – should not be imposed on minority sectors, but rather seek a text that interprets the entire society, currently fractured.

The choice of the concept was not accidental, nor was the meeting that both held a few days before the work for a new Constitution proposal was completed – which was recorded by a

selfie

that Boric himself uploaded to social networks – and where they spoke precisely the constitutional path and its exits.

On Monday, Boric immediately reacted to Lagos' statement and said he is open to "making improvements" to the constitutional convention's proposal, in the event that he wins the option of those who approve the convention's work.

In the event of the Rejection

triumphing

, the president stated: "We must depend on the historical veto that the right has had in the last 30 years to make substantive reforms to the Constitution."

These words, however, do not necessarily represent Lagos' position, because one of the questions that haunts the Chilean political scene today is whether the former president believes that it will be easier to reform if he wins the

Rejection

or if he wins the

Approval.

For Lagos, the constituent process of Chile "will not end on September 5, the day after we know the result of the exit plebiscite, because the two alternatives at stake are far from summoning the great majority of citizens."

It refers, among other things, to what different surveys show: that those who reject outnumber those who approve, that there are a large number of undecided and that, presumably, with the passing of days, both options will narrow the distance, for what the referendum will show a Chile divided in two.

According to the Criteria survey released on Monday, 49% would choose to reject the text of the convention, 31% would choose to approve it, while the undecided reach 22%.

The current Constitution bears the signature of Lagos due to the important reforms he made in 2005, but it has its origins in the Pinochet dictatorship and has not achieved legitimacy among the citizens.

The socialist refers to this text in his letter released today: "The current Constitution does not manage to arouse that support either, since the veto power of sectors in favor of the absent or subsidiary State was used every time it was sought to reform it," he said in reference to the consecutive occasions in which the centre-left, as he himself has explained, tried to reform the Fundamental Charter much more in the years of transition.

The socialist puts in the hands of the current Government the mission of conducting the process from September 5: "The relevant political challenge is to find a way to address the continuity of the constitutional debate until reaching a text capable of attracting a high degree of citizen acceptance .

It will be up to the highest authorities of the country to lead this process, "he assured in the letter.

In his public declaration, Lagos indicates what should be changed in the current Constitution –if the option of those who reject the new proposal wins–, while he lists what should be transformed if the text drafted by the convention wins.

“It would be necessary to return the name of the Judicial Power equivalent to the other two Legislative and Executive powers to its issues of administration of Justice and change the integration and powers of the Council of Justice”, he lists as the main concern, in line with what was sustained by other center-leftists, such as Michelle Bachelet's Minister of Justice, Isidro Solís.

Source: elparis

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