In Chile, a highly contested constitutional referendum was held on September 4

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Is Chile sure to turn the page on Augusto Pinochet? 15 million Chileans will decide, Sunday, September 4, during a referendum. They were called to decide on a new Constitution to replace the one inherited from the dictatorship, and which is still ongoing. But two days before the referendum, all polls showed that the majority of voters would reject the new text of the Constitution.

The new social contract, if approved, will determine living together in Chile tomorrow. So this is a historic moment that Chilean society is about to experience. “, emphasized Sebastian Santander. This professor of political science at the University of Liège is formal: the 388 articles drafted by the Constituent Assembly in one year make this project not only the longest but also one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.

An ambitious and progressive project

For members of the Constituent Assembly, it is ” guarantee the basic rights of every Chilean, and especially the poorest population under the current system », explained the expert.

The text guarantees the right to abortion. It establishes gender parity in all government and administrative bodies of the country. This proposal also envisages the creation of a Plurinational State. This means that it gives rights to indigenous communities, such as access to territories, cultural and linguistic recognition, and above all the establishment of legal pluralism. This will allow indigenous communities to have their own legal system. Although, for some questions, of course there is a national judicial system “, details of Sebastian Santander.

The professor continued: Another important point is environmental rights. This is to guarantee the protection and access to the earth’s resources and to prohibit any commodification of natural resources. And then, this Constitution also lays down the establishment of a public system for health care, education and pensions. This is a very ambitious project. »

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The right campaigned against the new Constitution

From the beginning of the work of the Constituent Assembly, the Chilean right has launched a very aggressive campaign in the media and social networks against the project of ” to create a new society by transcending the Pinochetist Constitution of 1980 “Let Sebastian Santander explain again. ” These conservative forces want to maintain the status quo, to preserve the current social model at all costs. Because they are afraid that their interests will be challenged “, he detailed.

Although it is not the only reason, this campaign led by the Chilean right and often full of misinformation has succeeded in spreading doubts among the population. For months, the “no” of referendum this Sunday, September 4, 2022 leading the polls. Almost two years later, in October 2020, 78% of Chileans still voted for the election of a Constituent Assembly.

More importantly, this result also means the definitive rejection of the 1980 Constitution inherited from the Pinochet era “, said Alfredo Joinnant, professor at Diego Portales University in Santiago, for whom this rejection ” does not include any backtracking “. ” Everyone knows this, including the right. The 1980 Constitution is technically dead », highlighted by Alfredo Joinnant.

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Even if “no” prevails, a change is impossible

Only here: if “no” wins this Sunday in the referendum, it is the Pinochet Constitution that will remain strong. ” What opens up in Chile is a kind of no man’s land “, believes Alfredo Joinnant, who is sure of the victory of “no”.

In other words, a period in which the constitutional behavior was implemented, which in 1980, acted legally in fact but without any political support and without social legitimacy. This is why we must move as soon as possible towards the election of a new Constituent Assembly. So what will happen after the plebiscite is over on September 4 through the negotiation of rights. And from there, the forces of the left must take hold of this negotiation, including the President of the Republic. ” explained the professor.

In this context, the still reluctant Chileans are the center of all attention. According to polls, they may be between 10% and 15% undecided for Sunday’s referendum.

To convince them, Gabriel Boric, the center-left president and ardent supporter of the new Constitution, has already promised that improvements will be made to the text if it is adopted. A strategy that doesn’t seem to move voting intentions. The polls always give “no” to the mind.

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