Constitutional Process NATIONAL

Convention finishes first draft of new Constitution

The Constitutional Convention finished its first draft of Chile’s proposed new Constitution on Saturday, May 14. Chileans now get to see what their new Magna Carta might look like. An often-criticized body now enters its final chapter before the referendum in September.

 Cheers and applause from the majority of the constituents forming the Convention on Saturday, May 14, as the first draft of the Constitution was overwhelmingly approved by the body. Finishing the draft in time was a victory in and of itself for the Convention, so often criticized for being radical and inexperienced. Whether Chileans approve the new Constitution remains to be seen, but the draft offers insight into the Chile the constituents wish to build.

Nearly 500 articles, nearly 50,000 words, the draft Constitution is a lengthy one. Its main article describes Chile as a social and democratic State of law. It is plurinational, intercultural and ecological. It is constituted as a Republic of solidarity, its democracy is parity and recognizes as intrinsic and inalienable values the dignity, freedom, substantive equality of human beings and their indissoluble relationship with nature.”

The next month, the so-called Harmonization Committee, 40 of the constituents, will take the role of editors and will check the text for repetitions, grammar, consistency, and coherence. Other committees will work on transitory articles and rewriting the main pages. July 4 the Convention will be dissolved, and three months later the country will get it say. In a referendum with mandatory voting, Chileans will choose between approving the new text or rejecting it, thus opting for the current Constitution, written in the Pinochet-era.

If the country approves the new Constitution, Chile will have one of the longest Constitutions in the world. The Constitution of India is currently the longest with 448 articles: the current first draft has 499, 356 more than the current Constitution. In words, the new Constitution is also longer: the draft of the new Constitution had 49,637 words, while the 1980 Constitution has 31,224.

Read the entire draft here (in Spanish)




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