Celebrations as Chile votes by huge majority to scrap Pinochet-era constitution - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15130364
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Chile has voted overwhelmingly in favor of rewriting the country’s constitution to replace guiding principles imposed four decades ago under the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

Jubilant pro-reform supporters took to the streets of the capital Santiago and other cities to celebrate on Sunday night after exit polls showed that 78.24% of people had voted to approve a rewrite, while 21.76% rejected the change.

Voters also elected for the new constitution to be entirely drafted by a popularly elected body – meaning no active lawmakers can be involved in the process.

In a speech to the nation after the results became clear, President Sebastián Piñera acknowledged the victory for those seeking a new charter but cautioned it was only the start of a long process.

“Starting today, we must all collaborate so that the new constitution is the great framework for unity, stability and the future,” he said.

The special convention would begin drafting a new constitution that would be submitted to voters in mid-2022.

The referendum was conceded by Piñera in November last year after a hike in metro rail fares flared into a movement against inequality and high costs of living. Demonstrations included episodes of violence — clashes with police forces left more than 30 civilians killed and thousands injured.

Protesters’ demands included reforms to the country’s privatised education, health, and pensions sectors, which converged into a call to change the country’s Pinochet-era constitution.

Catalina Miranda, 34, was among a crowd of thousands celebrating the result in Santiago’s Plaza Italia as the results were announced on Sunday night.

“We’ve been living under an illegitimate constitution created by a military regime, that’s only allowed progress to those who have money,” she says. “There’s been very few times that Chilean people have shared a collective victory like today.”

Another supporter on the streets, Paulina León, said: “What happened in the social outburst is now reflected in the outcome of the plebiscite. I was part of the marches a year ago and I have to take care of my decision and help build a dignified constitution.”

Principally written by Pinochet adviser Jaime Guzmán, the 1980 constitution enshrined the neoliberal philosophies of the Chicago Boys, a group of Chilean conservatives mentored by US economist Milton Friedman.

It advocated minimal state intervention, allowing private sectors to control public services.

Conceived during a dictatorship guilty of political murder, torture, and exile, the 1980 constitution was seen by many as compromised since its inception.

“We got to this stage as the country is in a crisis. It’s not only that the constitution is illegitimate, but it’s not suitable for the reality we live in – it’s time to change it,” said Maria Cristina Escudero, a political scientist at University of Chile.

She added that the social unrest of 2019 could have ended “very badly”, such a coup d’etat or collapse of government.

“It is a great virtue to have found an institutional way to solve this problem,” she said.

However, those against the change warned the two-year redrafting could provoke a period of uncertainty, disrupting public life and threatening Chile’s economic stability.

Political and social groups have a two-month window to nominate candidates to form the constitutional assembly.

In April, the public will elect 155 members, with equal numbers of men and women — significantly, the world’s first constitution to achieve gender parity.

They will draft the charter over nine months, with the option of a three-month extension.

Once the draft is ready, voters must decide whether they accept the new charter in an obligatory exit referendum in 2022. The new draft must be approved by a majority to replace the 1980 charter.

Associated Press also contributed to this report.


Great news.
#15130382
Rancid wrote:What sorts of deals?


The Constitutional Convention needs to reach agreements with 2/3 of the votes. Now that some will get drunk with this result, they are going to find out that quite a few of those who voted for a new Constitution don't want a radical break from the current one (which itself is the result of 40+ amendments to the original one written by Pinochet in a wide range of issues, @Pants-of-dog is full of shit as usual and people can and do dissent if they want), and will misinterpret the meaning of the vote and try to use the result as a way to legitimize attempts to impose their views, inside and outside the Convention.

I voted against knowing that it was going to lose, hoping to prevent this sort of thing. But I'm betting this is exactly what will happen.
#15130385
wat0n wrote:
The Constitutional Convention needs to reach agreements with 2/3 of the votes. Now that some will get drunk with this result, they are going to find out that quite a few of those who voted for a new Constitution don't want a radical break from the current one (which itself is the result of 40+ amendments to the original one written by Pinochet in a wide range of issues, @Pants-of-dog is full of shit as usual and people can and do dissent if they want), and will misinterpret the meaning of the vote and try to use the result as a way to legitimize attempts to impose their views, inside and outside the Convention.

I voted against knowing that it was going to lose, hoping to prevent this sort of thing. But I'm betting this is exactly what will happen.


I see.
#15130389
wat0n wrote:The Constitutional Convention needs to reach agreements with 2/3 of the votes. Now that some will get drunk with this result, they are going to find out that quite a few of those who voted for a new Constitution don't want a radical break from the current one (which itself is the result of 40+ amendments to the original one written by Pinochet in a wide range of issues, @Pants-of-dog is full of shit as usual and people can and do dissent if they want), and will misinterpret the meaning of the vote and try to use the result as a way to legitimize attempts to impose their views, inside and outside the Convention.

I voted against knowing that it was going to lose, hoping to prevent this sort of thing. But I'm betting this is exactly what will happen.

Well, we'll see who is in the wrong if and when that situation arises, and we'll see what the constitutional proposals bring.
Last edited by Random American on 26 Oct 2020 21:30, edited 1 time in total.
#15130391
Rancid wrote:I took his response to mean, carrying over some of the things in those 40+ amendments into the new document.


I took it to mean that for some reason nations are going to stop buying copper. But in any case this is an internal affair that needs ratifying. So in the mean time nothing changes. So what does that matter to someone who is happy to keep the constitution as it is?
#15130395
B0ycey wrote:@wat0n, you didn't answer the question. What sort of deals?


All of them. To write anything there there needs to be an agreement by 2/3.

That means that either it will be very short, straight to the point including only stuff 2/3 agrees with (a minimalist one), very long with all sorts of contradictory stuff resulting from quid-pro-quo agreements (a maximalist one) or that one sector will attempt to coerce the rest to force them to sign a deal on their terms.

Had the result been tighter, it would be clear coercion is not a good idea (doing so will lead to conflict). Now it's unclear if that would be the case. I think there will be attempts to shove stuff on other people's throats (ironically, what Pinochet and the military did with great success) and may end up in a maximalist document - but I'm uncertain about what happens on basic Constitutional stuff not amenable to deals.

Random American wrote:Well, we'll see who is in the wrong if and when that situation arises, and we'll see what the constitutional proposals bring.


Imagine the American Constitution, but (say) without any mention about the electoral system (it's not on the current Chilean Constitution - it used to be, but not anymore. It's in a separate law with a smaller supermajority required to reform it). Can it possibly work? What happens if they don't agree to something as basic as how to conduct elections? What happens is that, if a political party/coalition gets a majority in both chambers and controls the presidency, it will be able to set it up in a way (through e.g. aggressive gerrymandering) to have a structural electoral advantage. Pinochet did that too, by the way.

Normally, one would say there would either be a compromise solution. But the current political environment is not geared to that sort of thing, and it's even less likely it will now.

I hope I'm wrong about my pessimism just like many of my Chilean friends who voted for a change told me. But rationally, I'm not.
#15130399
B0ycey wrote:You make it sound that coalitions or compromise from opposing parties is something new. The simple matter is that this is constitutional reform anyway and any such deals that benefit a nation would exceed 2/3rd with or without reform.


It's not new. Neither is the inability to reach deals - in fact, it's happening in many Western countries right now. The current Chilean Congress has (as a matter of fact) pretty much deadlocked throughout the year, and the current Convention will be elected using the same election system.

So no, I wouldn't be so sure. Not everyone agrees on what "benefits the nation" and quite frankly they don't need to.
#15130401
wat0n wrote:It's not new. Neither is the inability to reach deals - in fact, it's happening in many Western countries right now. The current Chilean Congress has (as a matter of fact) pretty much deadlocked throughout the year, and the current Convention will be elected using the same election system.

So no, I wouldn't be so sure. Not everyone agrees on what "benefits the nation" and quite frankly they don't need to.


Didn't Pinera say this might take some time? In any case nothing changes and if nothing is agreed this will remain the case and you maintain the status quo (which is what you want). Or a deal can be made and a compromise is reached (which is what you fear can't occur). Either way you win right?
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