Chile president receives draft of new proposed constitution

Jul 4, 2022, 4:29 AM | Updated: 5:52 pm

SANTIAGO (AP) — President Gabriel Boric on Monday was presented with the formal draft of a proposed constitution meant to replace the charter imposed by a military dictatorship 41 years ago and usher in fundamental changes for Chile.

Chileans are to vote in a September plebiscite whether to adopt the charter, which was drawn up by a Constitutional Convention elected last year.

“This September 4th, it will once again be the people who will have the last word on their destiny,” Boric wrote on Twitter.

In the first of the draft’s articles, Chile is described as a “a social and democratic state” as well as “plurinational, intercultural and ecological.” The document recognizes the existence of 11 Indigenous groups, which represent 12.8% of the country’s 19 million inhabitants.

Among other things, the draft would require a new public health care system and a process to return land to Indigenous peoples. It also lays out new rights, including the right to “adequate and dignified housing” and equal pay for equal work between men and women.

The head of the convention, María Elisa Quinteros, handed the proposal, which includes 388 articles, to Boric in a formal ceremony. Boric then signed a decree setting the date for the plebiscite, in which Chileans will be required to vote.

“I feel honored to head up this historic moment,” Quinteros said.

More than three-fourhs of Chilean voters in a 2020 referendum called for a new constitution, but the ceremonial handover of the draft comes at a time when people appear to be increasingly skeptical of the convention’s work.

Polls at the beginning of the year indicated a clear majority intended to vote in favor of the new constitution, but surveys since April have found a marked change in opinion, with those who oppose the new document appearing to be ahead.

Analysts say the arrogant attitude of some delegates to the Constitutional Convention rather than the content of the proposal has soured Chileans.

Giorgio Jackson, the presidency’s minister, alluded to that circumstance by saying that “we have seen a very bad evaluation of the process.”

During his speech Monday, Boric also urged Chileans not to consider the plebescite a poll on his government. The September vote “is not, nor should it be, an evaluation of the government. It’s the debate about Chile’s future and destiny,” he said.

Although Boric was sworn in less than four months ago with a high approval rating, recent surveys have shown Chileans growing increasingly sour on his administration amid an increase in crime and high inflation.

The handover of the new document coincides with the dissolution of the Constitutional Convention a year to the date after it was set up.

If the draft is rejected in the plebiscite, the current constitution, written during Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship, will remain in effect even though there is widespread agreement that the country needs a new charter.

If the document is approved by majority vote, it will launch a process that will take years to become a reality. Congress would have to approve new laws to implement its requirements.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Image:The headquarters of Live Nation is shown June 29, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California. The Jus...

Associated Press

Government sues Ticketmaster owner and asks court to break up company’s monopoly on live events

The DOJ has accused Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment of running an illegal monopoly over live events in America.

2 days ago

Image: Ambulances are seen at the airport where a London-Singapore flight that encountered severe t...

Associated Press

World news roundup: Man dies after turbulence; Iran funerals; Israel media law

A Singapore Airlines flight hit severe turbulence over the Indian Ocean and descended 6,000 feet in a span of about three minutes.

4 days ago

Image: Bruce Nordstrom, left, and Jeannie Nordstrom attend the Nordstrom NYC Flagship Opening Party...

Associated Press

Bruce Nordstrom, who helped grow family-led department store chain, dies at 90

Bruce Nordstrom, a retail executive who helped expand his family's Pacific Northwest chain into an upscale national brand, has died.

5 days ago

Image:Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime min...

Associated Press

World news roundup: Netanyahu arrest warrant; Assange can appeal; UK blood scandal

The International Criminal Court said it is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu.

5 days ago

Image: In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, President Ebrahim Raisi attends a m...

Associated Press

Iran president and others found dead at helicopter crash site, state media says

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash Monday.

5 days ago

Photo: Shawna Williams, owner of Free Range Cycles, poses outside her shop on May 6, 2024, in Seatt...

Mae Anderson, The Associated Press

Bike shops boomed early in the pandemic. It’s been a bumpy ride for most ever since

For the nation's bicycle shops, the past few years have probably felt like the business version of the Tour de France, with numerous twists and turns testing their endurance.

6 days ago

Chile president receives draft of new proposed constitution