The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, has called on Friday a referendum for April 26 to decide if a new Constitution is drafted to replace the current one
The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, has called a referendum on April 26 to decide if a new Constitution is drafted to replace the current one since the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
“It is not an ordinary election, because with this democratic and republican action we will have to choose between two alternatives, both equally legitimate and democratic,” Piñera explained. In an act held at the Palacio de La Moneda, headquarters of the Executive, the president signed a decree with which he formalized the call to citizens to vote in the consultation.
When Chileans go to the polls in the plebiscite they will have the option to choose if they want a new Constitution or prefer to reform the existing one, created in 1980 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and focus of the protests that have been going on for more than two months are developed in the country.
The drafting of a new Magna Carta is one of the main clamours of the social outbreak, which leaves at least 24 dead since it is considered by citizens the origin of inequalities in the country.
In the current Constitution, which has been amended dozens of times, the State was granted a “subsidiary” (secondary) role in the provision and administration of basic resources, which favoured its privatization.
Turn off the protests
In the event that Chileans choose to draft a new Constitution, they will also have to vote on which procedure is chosen for this: a mixed convention of parliamentarians and citizens or an assembly of people chosen solely for that purpose.
“It will allow Chileans to decide the paths of the future. We Chileans are going to have the first word in choosing which path we want to follow and what mechanisms we want to adopt,” he said.
If the plebiscite is approved, the election of the constituents will take place in October, coinciding with the regional and municipal elections, and the new Constitution – which must be drafted in a maximum of one year – will be ratified in another plebiscite, with a mandatory vote.
This constitutional process was agreed in November among almost all the political forces of the Chilean Parliament – with the exception of the Communist Party – after the citizens asked for a new Magna Carta on the streets of the whole country since last October 18.