Constitutional Process NATIONAL

Proposed new Constitution ready and handed over to President Boric

Chile’s Constitutional Convention wrapped up its final draft of the proposed new Constitution. It was presented to the public during a ceremony on July 4 and will be voted on by the public in September. Delegates shared their joy as the drafting came to an end.  

Exactly one year after they were inaugurated, the Constitutional Convention ended its work during a closing ceremony in the former Congressional building, putting an end to a long and polemic chapter part of a historic process that started with the 2019 protests. In two months, Chileans will vote in yet another referendum on whether this draft will be Chile’s new Constitution.

The initial draft was circulated last month. It contained 499 articles. The final draft has been reduced to 372. The new draft, written in exactly one year, places more responsibility in the hands of the state for the provision of services, maintaining social and cultural rights, and ensuring gender parity across government and public enterprises. It also establishes more autonomy for indigenous people.

The Ceremony

The July 4th ceremony started at 10.00 and will include performances by many musicians and vocalists. The Foundation of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Chile will be singing the national anthem, and pianist Valentín Trujillo will also be performing. Present were all constituents and their guests, leaders from the Senate and parliament and president Boric, who held a speech, just like the president and vice-president of the Convention.

María Elisa Quinteros, president of the Constitutional Convention, said the proposal reflected “a yearning for change that we share as a country, long before we even knew that there would be the possibility of drafting a new Constitution”. The vice-president of the Convention, Gasper Dominguez, looked ahead at the referendum. “Whatever happens on September 4, Chile has already changed. It is an impulse that was born and has become a reality. The legacy of this process sets a new standard for this society in which it is unacceptable to think, for example, without parity or popular participation.”

The process for replacing Chile’s current constitution gained traction in 2019. Protests and demonstrations at the time lead to a peace accord, which included President Gabriel Boric as a signatory. On October 25, 2020, in a nationwide plebiscite, 80 percent of voters opted to have a new constitution drafted, and come September, a little shy of two years later, they will return to the polls to decide whether to approve what has been drafted.

 

 

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