SANTIAGO – The Chilean Municipality Association released the results of the Citizen Consultation. The vote was intended to gather opinions on Chile’s key issues and polling closed in most areas on Dec. 15. Of the votes counted to date, over 90% voted for a new Constitution.
The Chilean Municipality Association, which organized the Citizen Consultation, has published the initial results. In response to the primary question on the survey, “Do you agree or disagree with Chile having a new Constitution?”, 846,110 said they agreed — about 92% of the total voting population for that question.
In answer to a follow-up question, “… who do you prefer to create a new Constitution?”, 345,393 of the 488,089 voters answering this question said they preferred a Constitutional Convention — meaning a group of citizen-elected representatives only.
According to the vote, the three most important social demands are to “[i]mprove pensions and dignify the quality of life of older adults” (492,014), “[i]mprove the quality of public health and its financing” (486,054), and to “[improve the] [a]ccess and quality of public education” (331,564 votes).
Reducing income inequality, crime, and university debt were also popular topics.
The People’s Voice
The Consultation also referred to political and social problems Chile has faced.
For example, of 718,395 votes, almost 700,000 said they did not want people charged with corruption, money laundering, or drug trafficking working in public roles.
On another question, 87% of voters said they wanted to see more independence for their municipalities.
Almost 500,000 out of about 514,000 voters also want lower taxes for primary needs products (e.g., food and medication).
People also overwhelmingly voted to bring back the obligatory vote in elections (687,681), outnumbering those who want to keep it voluntary (106,395).
The preferred voting age, however, remains 18, with 112,384 votes out of 248,278, but a significant number, 92,888, also voted for age 16.
The Process of the Citizen Consultation
In most areas, the Consultation was open from Dec. 10 to 15.
The vote totals are different for each question, because many voters left questions blank or their votes on certain questions were disregarded for some reason or another.
According to BioBioChile, the results also do not include the Bio Bio Region, which extended its voting period to Dec. 18. Bio Bio votes are estimated to add another 120,000 to the tallies.
In addition, voting results are still being counted in some communes of Arica and Iquique, as well in Atacama, Ñuble, and Coquimbo Regions.
The Citizen Consultation is not binding, so authorities are not obligated to consider it. Still, organizers make a call to participate, as it can’t but help to identify the public’s most urgent needs, national and local. The results will also be sent to Congress for further analysis and use.
Camila Huecho is a journalism student at Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, currently interning at Chile Today. As a freelance illustrator and Fellow at the Melton Foundation, she works to bring information and cultures together through communications and art.