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News > Latin America

Chile: New President Sebastian Pinera to Scrap Michelle Bachelet's Constitutional Reform Plans

  • Piñera was sworn in as Chile's president on March 11.

    Piñera was sworn in as Chile's president on March 11. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 March 2018

He will present his own proposal, which will include extending presidential terms.

Chile’s new government headed by billionaire President Sebastian Piñera will stop a proposal to change Chile’s Constitution advanced by former president Michelle Bachelet, and introduce its own.

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Interior Minister Andres Chadwick, who also headed ministry in Piñera’s first administration (2010-2014), and was designated as president of Chile’s Catholic University by the military regime of Augusto Pinochet, said on Thursday: “we don’t want the project for a new constitution presented by president Bachelet to move forward.”

Days before leaving office, Bachelet sent a proposal to the Legislative for a reform of the country’s Constitution drafted under Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990). Bachelet’s plan included the inviolability of human rights, pay equality between men and women, the right to education and health, and the constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples.

Piñera’s government will introduce “modifications and reforms to the Constitution, that might be necessary to perfect it, but within an atmosphere of agreements and unity and not of last-minute projects,” Chadwick told a group of business people.

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In an interview on Thursday night, Piñera attacked Bachelet’s proposal saying she had “not even talked it through with her parties,” and confirmed his government would present a new proposal “on the basis of a great national agreement.”

His proposal would include extending presidential terms, which he explained will not benefit him. Piñera didn’t mention popular demands like the right to education and health.

During the same interview, the Chilean President also affirmed: “Chile will not lose sovereignty, territory or sea” in an apparent reference to the ongoing maritime dispute with Bolivia.

In 2013, the Bolivian government filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice demanding 400 kilometers of coastline that were seized by Chile in 1879 during the Pacific War. The case is entering its last stage. On March 22 the final hearing will be held in The Hague, after which the Court would be ready to give its indisputable ruling.

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