Valparaíso Mayor Leaves Party over Disagreement with Plebiscite Accord

SANTIAGO – Valparaíso mayor Jorge Sharp and 72 other members left the Social Convergence (CS) party, after Frente Amplio (FA) coalition leader Gabriel Boric signed the Accord for Social Peace and a New Constitution on November 15. Sharp left due to diverging views on the accord, which Boric signed on behalf of the entire coalition. The exit of so many members is an important loss for FA.

Agreeing to the Accord for Social Peace and a New Constitution, hammered out as result of the recent crisis, has had immediate consequences for some political parties, especially in the left-wing Frente Amplio (FA) coalition. For example, Jorge Sharp, who as mayor of Valparaíso plays a prominent role, announced his resignation from the Social Convergence (CS) party, together with 72 members. They resigned because they disagree with FA leader Gabriel Boric who signed the accord on behalf of the coalition.

Thus, FA paid a high price for signing on. 

Sharp wrote a letter saying, “The Accord for Social Peace and the New Constitution, signed by many political parties, is essentially contrary to the demands that the different and diverse demonstrations have claimed on the streets. Its elaboration was done by a group of collectives and parliamentarians who do not represent the major will of the demonstrations.”

CS is a left-wing party that resulted from the merger of several FA factions: the Autonomist Movement, Libertarian Left, New Democracy, and Socialism and Freedom parties. Consequently, when FA signed the accord, CS was included.

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The Controversy

Both the FA leader and CS leader Gael Yeomans participated in discussions on the accord on November 14. Yeomans, however, left the room for personal reasons, and the representative vote of FA and its movements fell to Boric, and, when the time came to vote, Boric voted for both groups without Yeomans’ final input.

Representative Gonzalo Winter said according to news outlet EmolThe party did not subscribe to the accord. Let’s remember this announcement came at 2 a.m. [Nov. 15] and the parties did not get to process it [appropriately]; this is why there are no official approvals from the party’s side yet and that Boric’s signature means: just Boric.”

On November 15, Sharp expressed his disagreement with the approval and the role FA had played in the decision, and then Boric and Sharp both took to social media.

Apparently, Sharp took issue with the final decision to require a two-thirds approval quorum of the Constituent Body, which would mean that a minority of the Constitution re-writing team would have the power to ban articles from the final draft. 

According to La Prensa Austral, Sharp also said that “the Constituent Assembly is not contemplated” in the accord, and rejected the alleged rule of banning underage voters. 

As reported by daily El Dínamo, Sharp said, “we value and highlight the role of the different FA parties in this crisis. Social Convergence had in this situation the opportunity to answer to the citizens’ demands, with a base on the recognition of their will, [building] a place for the new democratic–left. However, different internal problems have not allowed this to advance in the right direction.”

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