Photo: Patricio Lopez

Chileans rejected, this Sunday (17), the “most conservative” proposal for a new Constitution and stopped the advance of the country’s extreme right. With 100% of the votes counted, 55.76% rejected the text against the approval of 44.24%.

Symbolically, the result is also a victory for President Gabriel Boric after the setback in the first ballot in September 2022.

Boric was elected in 2021 after pressuring his right-wing predecessor, Sebastián Piñera, to begin the constitutional process that would bury the liberal Magna Carta inherited from the regime of dictator Augusto Pinochet, written in 1980 and softened in the 2000s.

The turnout was 84.07% of people able to approve or reject the text, slightly below the 85.86% of the first plebiscite in September 2022, of 85.86%. Being mandatory in the country, voting began at 8 am and ended at 6 pm, local time, continuing with the counting of votes.

The disapproval of the first text took place on September 4, 2022, when the polls indicated 62% of valid votes for “rechazo” and 38% for “apruebo”.

The second draft new Constitution to be presented in two years was prepared by a Constitutional Council dominated by the opposition to Boric’s government. Of the 50 seats in the body, thirty-three were — after elections held last May — in the hands of representatives from right-wing parties, including 22 from the Republican Party, run by the ultraconservative and former presidential candidate José Antonio Kast.

Boric said that “the constitutional process is finished” and that now “the emergencies are different”.

“The end of the process should generate a climate for better understanding,” he said, admitting that the proposed constituent reform ended up generating frustration and lack of interest among a large part of the population. “No celebration, no arrogance. Ball on the ground, humility and work. A lot of work,” he said.

The president of Chile stated that his government will not promote a new constituency.

“During this mandate, the constitutional process ends. Our country will continue with the current Constitution, because, after two constitutional proposals, none of them managed to represent or unite Chile in its beautiful diversity”, declared the president.


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