Plebiscite in Chile confirms divorce between politicians and society

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After the overwhelming results of the historic plebiscite In favor of a constituent process in Chile, led entirely by citizens, the political parties tried to assimilate this Monday a vote that reveals the great disaffection that exists towards them.

The Chilean President, the Conservative Sebastian Piñera, convened his cabinet first thing in the morning and is scheduled to meet in the afternoon with the directors of the four parties that make up “Chile Vamos”, the coalition with which he assumed power for his second non-consecutive term in 2018 .

Short vision of politicians

“We now have a role as a Government in accompanying this constituent process, as established by the Constitution and of course we are not neutral regarding constitutional content, “government spokesman Jaime Bellolio said at a press conference.

The coalition, like the government itself, has shown itself divided over the process, with the ultraconservative UDI, the only formation that expressly requested the vote to preserve the current Magna Carta. “I call for us to have a true democratic reconciliation, that we have dialogue, that we meet in the urgencies of the people and not in small politics,” added the spokesman.

New rules

With 78.2% of the votes, Chileans decided on Sunday to replace the current Constitution, inherited from the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and highly criticized for its neoliberal court.

The vote also swept away, with 78.8% of the votes, the option that it be a convention made up solely of elected citizens for that purpose and with gender parity, the one that drafts the new text in a maximum of one year, which will have to be approved in another referendum in 2022 to enter into force.

For experts, the most important reading derived from the results is the “Little trust that citizens have in politics, as only 21% of voters preferred a mixed convention, made up of elected citizens and sitting parliamentarians, a figure much lower than that predicted in the polls.

The stage for the future

“It is a call to build other mechanisms of more direct participation with citizens. constituent process it opens a window for new leaderships, “Jaime Abedrapo, director of the San Sebastián University School of Government, told Efe.

“The representation crisis it was not resolved with a substantial increase in electoral participation. This will be a long and hard road, “said Marta Lagos, founder of Latinobarómetro.

The election of the constituents will be held on April 11 and candidates have until January 11 to register, although some already took a step forward on Monday. “I would make a call not to recycle political names, but rather to listen to the call of the citizens and open doors to the independent“, indicated the opposition deputy, Raúl Soto, of the social democrat PPD.

A social triumph

After the polling stations were closed, thousands of citizens took to the streets to follow the count and celebrate what was already in a few minutes an undeniable triumph of the constituent process.

The emblematic Plaza Italia, the epicenter of the celebrations in Santiago, woke up this Monday flooded with banners, bottles and flags, remains of a party in which there were families, children and the elderly and that lasted until 1 in the morning, when it began to rule the curfew.

For the young Jaime Álvarez, the plebiscite “was only a first battle in a path of democracy from which Chile has deviated for years. “” I feel that the country is empowered and enthusiastic, “Daniela Espinosa, who also celebrated in Plaza Italia, added to Efe.

The plebiscite, which was held under strict sanitary protocols due to the pandemic and in which more than 50% of the register participated, it was convened to try to decompress the social crisis that began in October 2019, the most serious since the return to democracy, with thirty deaths and thousands of injuries .

“After the coup (led by Pinochet against the socialist Salvador Allende in 1973), it is probably the most significant in history politics of the country “, concluded the political scientist Abedrapo.

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