Chilean ultra-conservatives win constitutional elections

Status: 05/08/2023 12:10 PM

The constitution from the Pinochet dictatorship is still in force in Chile. The first attempt to change this failed last year. Now the left government has suffered another bitter defeat.

The government under President Gabriel Boric suffered a clear defeat in the vote for Chile’s new Constituent Assembly. The far-right Republican Party won about 35.5 percent of the vote, according to La Nacion daily, after more than 90 percent of the ballots were counted.

Larger Design freedom to the opposition

The left-wing government-backed list, Unidad Parra Chile, came second, with 27.4% of the vote. Chile Seguro’s list, in which conservative traditional parties united, ranked third with about 21.7 percent. The right-wing, conservative populist camp in the South American country won a landslide victory, thus perhaps 33 seats out of 50.

The opposition thus enjoys a three-fifths majority, allowing a great deal of freedom when drafting a new constitution. If right-wing parties agree, they can propose, correct and implement joint drafts. But in the end, the Chilean people will decide again.

Firstly draft constitution was rejected

A total of 350 candidates applied on five lists for about 50 seats on the council. The vote was compulsory for the Constitutional Council, which will begin its work on June 7.

It is indeed the second attempt to give the South American country a new constitution. In September last year, 62 percent of voters rejected a draft constitution that a specially elected assembly had been preparing for more than a year. For the Chileans, however, the draft carried a very left streak.

A draft new constitution in Chile was rejected in a referendum by a large majority.

The current constitution date from military dictatorship

For the first time, many social rights, such as the right to education, health and clean water, were guaranteed in the Magna Carta. The indigenous people, who make up about 13 percent of the population, have been given more autonomy and protection of their culture. Critics dismissed the draft constitution as anti-business and excessive environmentalism.

The current constitution dates back to the time of the military dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet (1973-90). The Republicans, led by former presidential candidate Jose Antonio Caste, want to preserve the Constitution. In the 1980 constitution, the functions of the state were reduced to a minimum, and the education, health, and pension systems were largely privatized.


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