Chili began its process on Monday Constituent to draft a new magna carta to replace the one that was written during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochetin force in that country since 1980.
(Read here: Chile: how will it write its new Constitution so that it does not sink at the polls?)
The new phase started with the installation of a committee of 24 experts -appointed by Congress- who will have a period of three months to prepare a draft that will serve as a “preliminary project” for the final constitution.
The panel of experts (12 chosen by the Chamber of Deputies and 12 by the Senate), which includes veteran Chilean political figures, took office yesterday in the building of the former Santiago Congress.
However, most Chileans distrust the new constitutional processand. According to the latest survey by Pulso Ciudadano, 57 percent of the population has little or no confidence in this new process, after 62.5 percent of the country said ‘no’ to the first Constitutional project that foundered in the polls last September.
The objective is to prepare a project
of Constitution that unites us, hopefully without labels, that it be a common house
At that time, Chileans described the Magna Carta as a “divisive and sectarian text.” However, in Chili there is still a general consensus on the need to replace the Constitution which was written during the dictatorship.
“It is probably the last opportunity to get a new Constitution in Chile. The previous failure was a defeat for the efforts that the country has made since 2019 (when the social outbreak occurred) to meet the demands of the citizenry,” Leandro Lima, Control Risks analyst for the southern cone, explained to this newspaper.
In this sense, political analysts expect that the new draft Constitution is much more moderate than the previous one and that he manages to agree with the bulk of the population.
“But although we hope for a more moderate Constitution, this does not mean that there will be no uncertainty. Replacing a magna carta is a very difficult process that has legal, political, and economic impacts,” Lima said.
After the victory of the no at the polls, the government of the president gabriel boric He called for a great national agreement so that the political parties would not discard the attempt to write a new Constitution.
In fact, on January 11, the Chamber of Deputies dispatched the constitutional reform law that opened this new process. That is why the installation yesterday of this committee of experts is seen as a starting point in the long process that the country will have throughout 2023 to move forward with the draft Constitution.
“I know that many do not feel summoned because they are skeptical of this process (…) The discomforts of our society are deep and it will take time to generate trust,” said the president of the committee Verónica Undurraga, who also represents the ruling Party for Democracy (PPD, social democrat).
For his part, the vice president of the panel, Sebastián Soto, appointed by the opposition movement Evópoli (center right), said: “The objective is to prepare a draft Constitution that unites us, hopefully without labels, that is a common house, not partisan , a text that will remain and unite us for a long time”.
After these three months in which the 24 experts will work to draw up this roadmap, the “preliminary draft” will be discussed in the middle of the year by the Constitutional Council, a different body that will be popularly elected on May 7, and which will begin to work from June.
This Council will take the bases of the draft to elaborate the final text proposal that will later be voted on by the citizens in a plebiscite agreed for December 17 of this year.
Unlike the previous process, the current one includes 12 institutional principles that the drafting body must follow and that would prevent a re-founding proposal, including the indivisibility of the Chilean State, the independence of powers and respect for national symbols. Quite a legislative challenge, while 56.1 percent of the population considers that Chile is going in the wrong direction, taking into account economic, value, political and social aspects.
CARLOS JOSE REYES GARCIA
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