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Pinochet’s legacy put to vote; constitutional plebiscite

They are inclined towards change Several national polls give a large victory to the “Approve”, with between 60 and 75% of the votes.


Changing the Constitution was the great demand that united Chileans during the social revolt that began a year ago and today they will be able to vote in a plebiscite to bury or not the Magna Carta inherited from the dictatorship, perceived as the basis of inequality.

For the supporters of the “I approve” change, a new Constitution would eliminate the fundamental brake on deep social reforms in one of the most unequal countries in Latin America, which in the last 30 years was one of the most stable and with the greatest economic prosperity region of.

The defenders of the “Rejection”, who share part of the parties of the ruling conservative coalition, believe that it is possible to introduce changes in the basic text, but not to write a new Constitution. For them, the stability of Chile is at stake.

“This plebiscite was won by the people; The (political) parties did not win it ”, considers Alejandra Sepúlveda, who on Thursday afternoon participated in one of the closing of the campaign for the“ Approve ”option in downtown Santiago.

For Luis Álvaro, 51 years old and unemployed since March, “Chile needs a radical change”.

“We want a new Chile. A just Chile, a worthy Chile; a Chile that is for everyone ”, he says hopefully about the process that can be opened in case of winning the“ Approval ”and the option to draft a new Constitution through a Constituent Convention, made up of members elected by popular vote.

The other alternative is a “Mixed Convention”, made up in equal parts by sitting parliamentarians and members elected especially for the occasion.

The fear of the supporters of the “Rejection” is that “Chile will lose its privileged position in Latin America”, gained in the 30 years of democracy, and become “a new Venezuela”. For them, it is not necessary to change a Constitution that has given stability to Chile although it is necessary to introduce reforms.

The episodes of violence that have accompanied the massive marches against the government of Sebastián Piñera, which began on October 18 of last year, and which were repeated last week with the burning of two churches, sustain these fears.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave its vision on the process, adding a note of reassurance. “This constitutional process opens the door for Chile to continue being a leader in the region in the economic sphere,” said the director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, Alejandro Werner.

More than 14.1 million Chileans are entitled to vote in these elections under voluntary suffrage.

Since voluntary voting was established in 2013, the level of abstention has increased in Chile, especially among the youngest. In the last elections of 2017, when the conservative Sebastián Piñera was elected president, the abstention was almost 50 percent.

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