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  • Citizens protest in rejection of the private system of Pension Fund Administrators (AFP) in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 2, 2020.

    Citizens protest in rejection of the private system of Pension Fund Administrators (AFP) in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 2, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 18 November 2020
Opinion

The Debate was approved by 3 votes againt 2 by the Constitutional Commission which has to consider now the indications submitted by lawmakers before sending the Bill to the Senate's floor.

Chile's Senate Constitution Commission (TC) voted to open the debate on the constitutional reform bill that seeks to allow the second withdrawal of funds by affiliates to the Pension Fund Administrators (AFP).

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The debate was approved by three votes in favor and two against. The votes against were those of senators Luz Ebensperger and Rodrigo Galilea; while the votes in favor were given by senators Pedro Araya, Francisco Huenchumilla; and the president of the Commission Alfonso de Urresti.

Several actors from the union movement, among them the School Food Programme Workers Confederation (Confetrap), the Central Workers Union (CUT), and the Walmart Union expressed their support for the second withdrawal while criticizing the lack of direct transfers from the State.

The TC is due to consider now the indications submitted by lawmakers before sending the Bill to an open debate in the Senate, where 26 senators have to vote in favor in order to achieve the final approval and avoid a possible requirement before the TC by the government.

The opposition, as a bloc, has 24 senators and, so far, four parliamentarians from Chile Vamos have confirmed their approval of the initiative. 

The Bill promoted by lawmaker Pamela Jiles from the Humanist Party (PH) seeks to allow a new withdrawal of funds with maximum quotas equivalent to US$4.3 million and minimum amounts of US$1 million. In the event that the funds are less than US$1 million, the affiliate may withdraw the entirety of the funds accumulated in that account.

Meanwhile, opponents of the  Bill have called for modification on the text, noting a lack of resources to reach everybody.

"A group of parliamentarians, making an abusive use of a loophole, of a constitutional circumvention, are trying to write a parallel Constitution without modifying the current Constitution, through transitory articles. That is not only deeply unconstitutional, but it is a path that leads to the destruction of the constitutionality," President Sebastian Piñera said.

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