Reform of the Constitution: amid the coronavirus and social unrest, campaigns for the plebiscite in Chile are closed

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Initially set for April 26, the pandemic forced the consultation to be postponed. Eight months later, the country adds more than 13,700 deaths and around 496,000 infected. 74% would approve reforming the Magna Carta.

Agree on a plebiscite to change the armed Constitution during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), with reforms in democracy, it was a political milestone reached among the majority of political parties – without the support of the Communist Party – last November, when the barricades lit since the “outbreak” of October 18, 2019 were still smoking.

“The stakes are high, we can destroy this country by handing over a blank page to the same politicians who are here now and who have not been able to solve our problems, “fears Macarena, a 44-year-old woman with seven children, who participated on Wednesday in the closure of the campaign that opts for the Rejection to change the Constitution.

This event brought together about 200 people in the El Golf area of ​​the affluent Las Condes de Santiago neighborhood. There supporters of Rejection They have been convened on Saturdays for a month with Chilean flags – and some from the United States – and many fear that Chile “will throw itself off a cliff as happened to Venezuela,” Ximena Ahumada, a 34-year-old bank employee, told AFP.

The other option, which calls for voting I approve the drafting of a new Magna Carta to replace the one in force since 1980, called this Thursday to a closing in front of the presidential palace of La Moneda.

Initially set for April 26, 2020, the pandemic forced the consultation to be postponed. Eight months later, Chile adds more than 13,700 deaths and is around 496,000 infected by coronavirus, after a peak in May and June that placed it among the four most affected countries in the world.

“To vote we have to arrive healthy”, was a slogan that ran through social networks in recent months, in which it has effectively been possible to keep the cases of covid-19 at bay, with an average of 1,500 daily infections in recent weeks and less than 50 deaths on average daily.

Three days after the consultation considered the most important since the recovery of democracy in 1990, Criteria pollster reveals that 74% support the Approve option and 17% opt for Rejection, among an electorate of some 14.3 million people.

On Sunday perhaps the most important data will be the percentage of electoral participation, in a country where voting is voluntary since 2013 and in 2017 less than 50% The electoral roll went to vote when President Sebastián Piñera was elected.

If approval is won, an electoral period of two years opens and the vote to ratify the new Magna Carta will be mandatory.

“I approve until dignity becomes customary,” read banners and graffiti written on the walls of Santiago. On another wall it reads: “Let’s vote against the abuse of monopolies.”

“I reject because I do not want violence.” “My Chile will not be Venezuela,” say others.

Both campaigns have carried out some caravans in cars and others by bicycle, But the debate and the competition of advertisements for or against a constitutional change was done mostly on social networks.

In the surroundings of Plaza Italia, the center of Chilean celebrations that since last October It is the seat of a leaderless social rebellion no identifiable parties, graffiti, violent protest and confrontations between police and hooded men returned in the last two weeks.

“I do not vote, I organize myself”, they border on statues or write in a window on the central Alameda avenue, in downtown Santiago: “I approve and I reject, it doesn’t matter.” They are a reflection of more radical groups, some linked to the soccer fighting groups, who are involved in urban battles that have seriously damaged the public infrastructure in downtown Santiago.

Uncertainty, fear and hope reign, in any of the sectors. A majority of the 18 million Chileans nevertheless reject the violence that the photo of this South American country has left for a year, although more than 60% still support the demand for greater social welfare and a stronger State.

Source: AFP

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