Chileans vote for a 155-member parliament to draft a new constitution | Latin American News

Chileans vote for a 155-member parliament to draft a new constitution | Latin American News



Chileans will vote on the second day’s poll on Sunday to elect 155 representatives to the Constituent Assembly, which will rewrite the country’s dictator-era constitution to address deep-rooted social inequality, which appears to be in 2019 It sparked deadly protests.

Since Chile returned to democracy 31 years ago, about 14 million people have been eligible to vote this weekend, and many consider this to be the most important election in Chile.

According to the country’s electoral service, more than 3 million people, or about 20.4% of voters, voted on Saturday.

President Sebastian Piñera said after voting in the capital Santiago: “I hope our constitution can capture the soul of our country.”

Silvia Navarrete, a 35-year-old economist, holds her young daughter at a polling station in San Diego.

She said that she has voted for a “system for everyone, so that everyone can hear their own voice”, and to ensure that “rights and obligations are indeed fair to everyone.”

Carlos Huertas, a 40-year-old university professor, said his vote was for candidates who actively participated in “this social revolution”-referring to the 2019 protests.

Chile’s constitution dates back to 1980, when it was enacted by the dictator Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990 and prevented the country from being the most unequal among the advanced economies. Fair progress in the country has been widely condemned.

This inequality was one of the main driving forces of the protests in October 2019, leading to a month later (36 deaths in total) the government agreed to a referendum on a new constitution.

The referendum was originally scheduled to be held in April 2020, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and was finally held on October 25 last year.

The result is clear: 80% of people voted in favor of drafting a new constitution with a body composed entirely of elected members.

Gender parity

This weekend, more than 1,300 candidates participated in the election and became part of history.

Analysts say that the election will be a battle between candidates from the left and right parties, and independents are not expected to receive any meaningful support.

Left-wing parties have broadly sought state control over minerals and other natural resources, most of which have been privatized since the dictatorship, and demanded increased public spending on education, health, pensions, and social welfare.

Election workers carry ballot boxes containing votes in Valparaiso [Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters]

The people on the right nodded their heads and expressed the need to increase social support while defending the capitalist free market system to a large extent. They expressed gratitude to Chile for decades of economic growth.

Half of the world’s No. 1 candidates are women (by design).

The same will be true for the 155-member drafting group, which will have nine months to propose a new Chilean law, which will be approved or rejected in a mandatory national vote next year.

The seventeen seats of the constitution drafting “Convention” are reserved for the use of indigenous representatives.

Voters will elect governors, mayors and local councilors this weekend. This is usually a touchstone for the presidential election, which is scheduled for November next year.

Rich but unequal

During the outbreak of COVID-19, the campaign became very complicated. Among the country’s 19 million people, there were more than 1.2 million cases and nearly 30,000 deaths. The pandemic determined the two-day format of the election.

Chile has one of the highest vaccination rates in South America. So far, 48.5% of the 15.2 million target residents have received two doses of the vaccine.

The country has the highest per capita income and ranks third among multimillionaires in Latin America. However, the working class and even the middle class are heavily in debt and often have to pay for tuition and private pensions.

An OECD report in February stated that “persistent high inequality” is the main challenge facing Chile, with 53% of households classified as economically disadvantaged, and the poorest 20% of households’ income accounts for only a fraction of total income. 5.1%.

Satisfaction with the quality of life is low.


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