Chile rejects new Constitution

Recently, a referendum in Chile rejected a proposal to replace the old charter with a new progressive constitution.

Key Points

  • According to the result of this referendum, 61.9 percent votes were received against the proposal for the new constitution, while 38.1 percent people got support.The draft resolution was drafted to replace the 1980 charter, written under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
  • The rejection of the referendum motion shocked President Gabriel Borich, who argued that the introduction of the new constitution would usher in a new progressive era.

What was the new constitution proposal?

  • The president remains head of the government. However, he would share the power to submit laws involving public spending with legislators. Currently, this power exclusively lies with the president.
  • The president could be re-elected consecutively once. Currently, he can be re-elected non-consecutively.
  • Congress would become an asymmetric body, which currently is a bicameral body with equal power.
  • Direct democracy mechanisms such as popular law initiatives and citizen consultations would be followed in routine.
  • It would provide wider social rights, including housing, health, social security, access to food and work.
  • It dedicates an entire chapter to environment, noting that “nature has rights” and animals are “subjects of special protection.”
  • Under proposed constitution, fight against climate change would be a state duty, because it would protect biodiversity, natural spaces and native species.
  • Water has been classified as a “non-appropriable”, as opposed to current constitution.

Apart from this, new constitution also provides for state to take steps to eradicate and punish gender violence. State bodies and public companies have been mandated to have gender parity. State has also been mandated to respect, protect, promote, and guarantee the self-determination, participation of indigenous groups, and collective & individual rights.

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