Constitutional Process NATIONAL

Constitutional plebiscite set for September 4

Sept. 4, 2022 has been confirmed as the date for the Constitutional plebiscite. Voting will be mandatory for all Chilean citizens 18 and up who reside in Chile. An initiative to georeference polling stations is also being discussed.

The government has confirmed that the Constitutional plebiscite will take place Sept. 4, 2022. Sept. 11 was also considered, but many members of Congress saw it as controversial date, as it coincides with the 49th anniversary of the 1973 military coup.

A final proposal for the Constitution must be sent by the Convention to President Gabriel Boric by July 5, 2022. The president will then “convene within three days …, by exempt supreme decree, a national constitutional plebiscite where citizens will approve or reject the proposal,” according to article 142 of the current Constitution.

To pass, the proposal will need a majority of 50 percent plus one of the votes. Article 142 states that “if the question raised to the citizens in the ratifying plebiscite is rejected, this Constitution will continue to be in force,” meaning that nothing will change and the entire proposal will be rejected. Should the new Constitution be approved, the president will then have to convene the entire Congress within five days to promulgate the new text, which must then be published within 10 days in the Official Gazette.

Here’s what you need to know about the Convention so far

Participation in the plebiscite will be compulsory for all citizens over age 18 who reside in Chile. Citizens living abroad will have the option to cast a vote, but it will not be mandatory. According to Plataforma Contexto, those who can vote and choose not to could be fined between 

CLP$25,186 and CLP$151,116. Officials hope that, by making the vote compulsory for those living in Chile, this will result in a larger turnout. As Contexto explains, “the greater the participation – a consequence of compulsory voting – the greater the validity of the vote.”

The government also issued a statement on Apr. 6 that an initiative to georeference the electorate was being pursued to make it easier for voters to locate the nearest polling station. Polling authorities will also be taking several other measures to ensure that all voters have easy and safe access to polling stations. These measures will include updated sanitary protocols and special considerations for voters over 90 years of age. 

Chief of Staff Giorgio Jackson assured that all the necessary precautions will be taken to ensure that the plebiscite is a ”participatory, democratic and free process.”

 

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