The Republican Party introduced pro-military and anti-abortion amendments into Chile’s constitutional rewrite process. Leading party figures said the measures are aimed at achieving broad popular appeal. The Republican-dominated Constitutional Council will now debate the measures.
As part of Chile’s constitutional rewrite, far-right Republican Party presented amendments to include the protection of the armed forces and prevent abortion.
The amendments will be discussed at the constitutional council that’s writing a draft based on a text that was written without public input by the Expert Commission, whose members were selected by political parties in line with ideological preferences.
Representatives of the Republican Party achieved a supermajority in the popularly elected Constitutional Council and can override the experts’ proposals.
A plebiscite on the new constitution is slated for Dec. 17. A first draft was rejected by 62 percent of the population in September last year.
Republican Luis Silva, a hardliner who received most votes countrywide in May’s elections, said the amendments reflected the party’s identity. Yet, the party also made “a sincere effort to shape these amendments in a way they can be interpreted in a broader framework,” local media quoted Silva as saying.
The armed forces “just didn’t do anything wrong; they were left out of the constitution,” said Ricardo Ortega, former air force commander and Republican Party member. Ortega was angered by the recommendations of the Expert Commission regarding the forces, which he considered an attack, Radio Bío Bío reported.
“Republicans were always for security … the defense of the armed forces, the Chilean police force and the Investigations Police (PDI) because Chileans need security and tranquility,” Ortega said.
María de los Ángeles López, council member and Republican, said the party was also opposing abortion, which is why it developed “a robust proposal to defend the unborn child and motherhood. We want to defend and to respect that every human being is a person,” according to local media.
Silva added that the amendments aim to increase “the awareness that what is in the womb of the mother is a human being. They are not solving the controversy, but simply delving into what is already in the constitutional text.”
Chongyang Zhang is pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s program in journalism, media and globalisation. His interest lies in the relations among the United States, Latin America and China. He is currently doing an exchange semester at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.