The President of Chile, Sebastian Piñera, stated this Sunday that “It is time to heal the wounds of the past” and described as “triumph” the results of the plebiscite in which the option to write a new Constitution was imposed by 77.9%, with more than 60% of the votes counted.
“Today is the time to heal the wounds of the past, unite wills and look to the future,” said the president.
If the final count confirms it, Chile will leave behind the current Constitution, drawn up during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), and considered by many as the origin of the country’s great inequalities, having privatized basic services such as water, health or pensions.
The president called for the new constitution “to be a great framework of unity, stability and future”, unlike the current one, which generated “divisions”.
“Today citizenship and democracy have triumphed. Unity has prevailed over division, and this is a triumph for all Chileans and Chileans,” he added.
The vote was proposed as the political way to end the current social crisis, which began more than a year ago with demonstrations calling for a fairer socioeconomic model and in which his government has been fiercely criticized.
The riots, which broke out in October 2019 after the rise in the price of the metro ticket, have so far left around thirty deaths, thousands of injured and serious accusations of human rights violations towards the security forces.
In the same vote, Chileans chose by 79% of the votes that the body that drafts the new law be an assembly made up entirely of members of civil society, half men and half women, without including the current parliamentarians.
“This plebiscite is not the end, it is the beginning of a path,” said the president, referring to the constituent process in which the country is embarking and which could last until 2022 with the ratification of the new fundamental law in another referendum.
The vote, which was initially going to take place in April and was postponed due to the pandemic, was possible thanks to a historic political pact between the ruling party and the opposition to face the current social crisis. the most serious since the return to democracy.
Despite the disturbances that occurred in the marches in the weeks before the plebiscite, with looting and burning of churches, the day passed without incident and an atmosphere of general calm.
More than 14.7 million Chileans were called to go to the polls in a vote that took place in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and filled with sanitary restrictions and protocols to avoid possible outbreaks.
In the afternoon, thousands of protesters took to the capital’s Plaza Italia to celebrate the historic results, one of the most massive gatherings of the year that takes place in a festive atmosphere with families, seniors and young people.