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  • Chileans take to the streets to demand a new constitution, Santiago, Chile, Oct. 10, 2020

    Chileans take to the streets to demand a new constitution, Santiago, Chile, Oct. 10, 2020 | Photo: Twitter/ @DEmiliaNuyado

Published 18 November 2020
Opinion

"If we do not reach an agreement, a new constitution will be written without the Indigenous peoples," President Sebastian Piñera's government threatened.

Chile's Senate Wednesday will vote on the quorum required for the approval of a bill that seeks to reserve seats for representatives of Indigenous peoples to the Constitutional Convention.

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Right wing parties and the government proposed 15 seats for representatives of Indigenous people, which represents 10 percent of the 155 Constitutional Convention seats set to draft a new Constitution.

The proposal requires a quorum of 3/5 to be approved (26 votes). Meanwhile, opposition parties led by 'Chile Vamos' call for the incorporation of 24 new seats in order to include the Indigenous representatives. This will require a quorum of 29 votes. 

"If we do not reach an agreement, a new constitution will be written without the Indigenous peoples," the Government threatened.

"In the last Census of 2017, 12.8 percent identified themselves as Indigenous people. If we are 18 million inhabitants, then we have 2 million 200 thousand Indigenous people. We have to apply the mathematical rules, and depending on that, the number of seats reserved," Christian Democratic Lawmaker Francisco Huenchumilla noted.

 

Center-left parties have acknowledged that the Bill lacks the required number to be approved, pointing out that the text should be debated by a joint commission.

Constitution Commission's president Alfonso de Urresti  called on the right to "make the maximum effort" to reach an agreement taking into account that the Constitutional Convention will include reserved seats for the Indigenous communities.

"We call on all senators to support the bill. A New Constitution cannot be made without Indigenous peoples," National Indigenous Councilor Emilia Nuyado tweeted.

The Constitutional Convention is the institution elected by the citizens during the plebiscite of last October 25 to proceed with the replacement of the Chilean constitution.

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