On October 25, Chileans will have to say yes or no to a new Constitution. It was the main demand in the social outbreak of 2019.
Spring begins in Chile with a society mobilized in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic by a constitutional plebiscite that will try to open democratic formulas that adjust the failures of a successful but highly unprotected economic model that erupted a year ago.
Amid protests against the government still in the midst of a pandemic, the country is still looking for a ira social with cross-sectional representation disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and the most important popular consultation in democracy that Chile recovered in 1990 will take place on October 25, the same day that a year ago a historic, peaceful and non-partisan rally called for changes for a less unequal country.
Frustration over an expensive life like in Europe, with low salaries like their peers in the region, healthcare, education and pensions privatized in the style of the United States and high expectations in one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America were the prelude and arguments for the outbreak. October 18, which lasted until the beginning of this year with demonstrations that often ended with violence.
One year later, Chileans seek a fairer model, with greater social well-being and quality of life, and its citizens look to New Zealand and Sweden as examples.
A Cadem poll asked this week: “If Chile decided to follow the political / economic model of another country, would you like it to look like …?” 28% responded New Zealand, 17% Sweden and 16% Australia.
The plebiscite arose from an unprecedented political agreement in November, in the heat of the protests. It was set for April but was postponed due to the coronavirus that hit this country of 18 million people hard. More than 14 million can vote, including foreigners with more than five years of residence.
The options are “I approve” or “I reject” the drafting of a new Constitution to replace the one inherited from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), reformed in socialist and Christian democratic governments, but perceived as the mother of the problems of discrimination, concentration of economic power and social inequality.
A new Constitution “does not solve all problems, however the social crisis is linked to both social demands and the political system,” Claudio Fuentes, political scientist and professor at the Diego Portales University, told AFP.
Corruption scandals, representation crisis and a satiety of the political parties preceded this Chilean crossroads.
“Therefore there is a double hope of the citizenship regarding the inclusion of social rights in the Constitution and additionally, that problems of the political bond are resolved,” Fuentes points out about this opportunity to draft a new constitution that includes the rights it requires. people.
The concern of this consultation goes through the ability to stimulate electoral participation, in a final stretch towards the plebiscite that coincides with the beginning of a deconfiguration on a large scale in the country that adds almost 454,000 infected and more than 12,500 dead from covid-19.
The fear of an upturn in infections remains latent when the latest polls indicate that between 50% and 60% would go to vote. “Take care to get healthy to October 25”, say slogans on social networks.
Karin Luck, a deputy for the right-wing National Renovation party who opposes a new Constitution, told AFP that her main expectation is that “a lot of people will vote.”
An eventual triumph of the “Approve” a new Constitution, drawn up by constituents specifically chosen for those purposes – an option supported by more than 70% of the electorate according to various polls – would imply an electoral tsunami for the next two years in Chile.
“Waiting two years is a long time, let’s do it now but through the laws,” said Luck, who prefers to satisfy citizens’ demands by amending laws.
Diego Schalper, deputy and leader of Chile Rechaza, a group made up of political and social movements close to the coalition of the conservative government of President Sebastián Piñera, argues that false expectations have been created in the population “as if a great Constitution is going to change their lifetime”.