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News > Chile

Chile: September 4 Referendum - Progress or Regression

  • Voting will be mandatory for Chilean residents 18 years of age and above, with fines for those who do not attend. Aug. 29, 2022.

    Voting will be mandatory for Chilean residents 18 years of age and above, with fines for those who do not attend. Aug. 29, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@kitana_61

Published 29 August 2022

Next Sunday, Chileans can vote on whether to approve or reject the new Constitution draft.

More than 15 million Chileans are eligible to go to the polls on September 4. Voting will be compulsory for Chilean residents aged 18 and over but optional for Chileans living abroad.


Chile: Right-Wingers Attack Cyclists Supporting New Constitution

The current Constitution is that of dictator Augusto Pinochet's era with some reforms in the advent of democracy. The social outburst of October 2019 came to ratify the need to seek a genuinely democratic Constitution with a broader set of fundamental rights. 

The proposal establishes a social and democratic state in which solidarity, participation and freedom play an important role. The protection of nature, the recognition of indigenous communities, the right to abortion, health, water, housing, education and sovereignty over mineral resources are some aspects included in the new Constitution. 

The rejection is mainly defended by those seeking to maintain the status quo and the current Constitution's focus on private investment. In this sense, the media have exerted intense pressure on specific social sectors that are easy targets for manipulation and are unclear about the content of the new text. 

Since the creation of the Constitutional Convention in July last year, drafting the new proposal has not lacked conflict, and the media have played a key role in recent times in public opinion. Initially thought to receive an absolute yes, the proposal is now at risk of being rejected in the context of an intense disinformation campaign.

In December of the same year, Grabiel Boric was elected president of Chile. During the presidential campaign, the "charismatic student leader" made support for the Constitutional Convention part of his program. In this way, the new government would achieve massive popular support that made approval seem inevitable.

With less than a week to go to the polls, the situation indicates that approval is at risk if one can believe largely unreliable polls. Paulina Valenzuela, a statistician and managing partner of public polling firm Datavoz, brought up the issue of misinformation. Valenzuela said that most of the misinformation in the last year focused on the constituents drafting the document but shifted to the new text itself after it was completed in early July.

Suppose the new text is approved on September 4. In that case, the President will summon the Plenary Congress "so that, in a public and solemn act, the New Political Constitution of the Republic may be promulgated and sworn in." In case of rejection, the current Constitution will remain in force, and a new process will be managed.

According to the Minister Secretary General of the Presidency, Giorgio Jackson, if the new Magna Carta is rejected, the Parliament will organize the process for drafting a new proposal. If approved, the Government will work on the necessary adjustments and transformations so that no one is excluded, Jackson added. 

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