Chileans vote to approve a brand new structure, the primary since 1980 that was drafted beneath army chief Augusto Pinochet.
Tens of millions of Chileans are voting in a referendum to approve or reject a brand new structure drafted earlier this yr, in what may very well be a defining second for the nation of 19 million individuals.
The proposed structure – which took a yr to organize – consists of extra rights for ladies, indigenous individuals, and working-class residents.
Whereas hailed in some circles as progressive and inclusive, the draft structure is more likely to be voted down, based on the most recent opinion polls.
The plebiscite, which is necessary for all these eligible, can be stated to be a make-or-break second for Chile’s just lately elected left-wing President Gabriel Boric, whose reputation has plunged since he took workplace in March.
Voting started at 8am native time (12:00 GMT) and ends at 6pm (22:00 GMT), except there are voters nonetheless in line. Outcomes are anticipated inside just a few hours after voting is accomplished.
Here’s what that you must know:
Why is Chile voting for a brand new structure?
- After student-led protests in October 2019 broke out over hikes in transportation fares, months of demonstrations expanded to incorporate broader calls for for better social safety and equality within the South American nation. Dozens have been killed and hundreds have been injured within the ensuing state crackdown.
- One of many key calls for to emerge from the protests was to interchange the structure that many deem outdated and unlawful because it was handed beneath the army dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. In October 2020, Chileans voted overwhelmingly in a referendum for a brand new constitution with nearly 80 % in favour.
- An elected physique of 154 individuals started drafting the brand new constitution that was then despatched for approval to President Boric in July, giving residents two months to debate the proposal earlier than voting day on Sunday.
What’s Chile voting for?
- The draft structure consists of 388 articles that change the political system, social tasks of the state and minority rights.
- Underneath the proposed constitution, a pacesetter might be elected consecutively as soon as whereas at present the president can’t be re-elected.
- The structure, if accepted, can even assure satisfactory housing rights, the formation of a nationwide healthcare system, and enhanced employment advantages. State our bodies and public firms, amongst different entities, should additionally adhere to gender parity.
- The proposal has devoted an entire chapter to environmental rights that state “nature has rights” and animals are “topics of particular safety”. The present structure has just one article pertaining to environmental safety. Preventing local weather change could be a “state responsibility” as would defending biodiversity, native species, and pure areas.
- Indigenous teams are assured rights to their “lands, territories and assets” in addition to reserved seats in consultant our bodies. The draft textual content additionally says Indigenous individuals have to be consulted in issues that have an effect on their rights. Based on the proposed constitution, Indigenous teams can be allowed a parallel justice system to hold out their affairs. Nonetheless, Chile’s Supreme Courtroom will nonetheless have the ultimate say on all issues.
What has been the response?
- Former Chile president and former UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has referred to as the draft structure a brand new “social contract” and backed the reforms.
- Proper-wing figures corresponding to 2021 presidential candidate Jose Antonio Kast have been campaigning in opposition to the proposed constitution for months, whereas others say it places an excessive amount of “blind faith” within the state to resolve the nation’s issues and is unlikely to convey stability of peace.
- Polls present the brand new structure can be rejected by voters by as a lot as 10 %.
What occurs subsequent?
If voters approve the proposal, the ruling coalition led by Boric has signed a pact to reform and “make clear” some components of the structure. There are additionally 57 transitory articles that may information the transition from the present structure.
If the textual content is rejected, the 36-year outdated Boric has stated a brand new constitutional course of have to be initiated to adjust to the 2020 referendum.