Chile’s Constitutional Convention Monday finalized the draft of a new constitution, following 10 months of negotiations.
Chilean citizens overwhelmingly voted in October 2020 to draft the new constitution replacing the guiding principles put in place in 1980 under General Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship.
The draft has been heralded for its progressive nature, with it requiring free higher education, gender equality in government leadership, and a robust climate change plan. It also includes reparations for indigenous groups whose land has been taken. The Indigenous Constitutional Platform, an indigenous group representing multiple Chilean tribes, shared its support for the proposed constitution and has been involved throughout the negotiations.
The constitution will be put to a referendum on September 4 this year. Chile abandoned mandatory voting in 2012, which has decreased overall voter turnout; however, high turnout is still expected for the referendum. Voters are mixed, with a poll from Cadem showing a significant drop in support of the constitution among voters. This is attributed, paradoxically, to both the incomplete and extensive nature of the proposed constitution. The document does not cover rights such as the right to housing, which was initially promised. The document would also, if approved, be the longest constitution in the world, making it difficult for voters to parse.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric has expressed support for the new constitution; however, his approval ratings have plummeted as well, with 61 percent of Chileans sharing their disapproval for his administration. If the proposed constitution is not ratified by a majority of Chileans, the Pinochet-era constitution will remain in force.