Chile Voters Overwhelmingly Reject radical Constitution

Voters in Chile have overwhelmingly rejected a new constitution which was due to replace the one drawn up under Gen Augusto Pinochet's military rule.

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Voters in Chile have overwhelmingly rejected a new constitution which was due to replace the one drawn up under Gen Augusto Pinochet’s military rule.

In a referendum, almost 62% voted against the progressive draft and the margin of the defeat is much larger than opinion polls had suggested.

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric, who had backed the new constitution, said he would work with Congress and civil society to come up with a “new constitutional process”.

He said he would continue working to reach a proposal that would “fill us with confidence and unite us all”.

The process to replace Chile’s military rule era constitution started three years ago after mass protests rocked the nation, which is normally seen as a haven of stability in the region.

Almost 80% of Chileans voted in favour of replacing the old constitution in a referendum in October 2020.

But the new document, drafted by a constitutional convention whose members had been chosen by voters, proved too radical for many.

The now-rejected draft would also have changed many of Chile’s institutions, such as replacing the Senate with a Chamber of Regions.

It also included key demands by women’s groups such as as the right to abortion and requiring by law that women hold at least 50% of positions in official institutions.

While opinion polls had predicted a “no” vote, the overwhelming rejection – 61.9% against compared with 38.1% in favour of the new constitution – is a slap in the face for President Boric.

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