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Chile Constitutional Updates 2021 (Oct.22 , 2021)
Chile's Delegates Start Drafting new Constitution
Chile's Constitutional Convention officially started the magna carta rewrite process on Monday, the second anniversary of the 2019 protests that demonstrated broad social discontent and fueled calls for a new constitution. (CNN, CNN, El País)
Convention president Elisa Loncón said that "it is imperative that we keep up with the times, we must work hard to try to heal the scars of Chile. Let us do this work from reason, but also move, work from tenderness and from thinking." (See Loncón's interview with El Mostrador.)
The Convention has eight months to present a proposed constitution, which will then be approved or rejected by plebiscite. (LaBot Constituyente)
Thousands of Chilean demonstrators marked the second anniversary of massive social protests in 2019, this week. Most were peaceful, but authorities say two people died, and 450 were arrested in episodes of violence and looting. Police said 10,000 people crowded into Santiago's Plaza Italia, which activists dubbed Plaza Dignidad during the 2019 protests demanding social policies to reduce inequality.
A small group of protesters on Monday unsuccessfully tried to enter the vicinity of the former national congress building, where the constitutional convention is working, reports EFE.
The Convention has seven permanent thematic commissions. The leadership choices delegates made for the commissions this week don't reflect the political distribution of the Convention itself, notes LaBot Constituyente. The Frente Amplio will head five of the Convention's permanent thematic commissions. They were elected this week with the support of right wing parties who chose to back moderate candidates as they lacked votes to put their own delegates in charge. The Colectivo Socialista will head two commissions and Indigenous Mapuche representatives another two, reports El Mostrador.
Opening speeches by delegates were light on actual constitutional proposals, but a couple, including Convention Vice President Jaime Bassa, advocated ending Chile's presidential system in favor of a parliamentary one. (LaBot Constituyente)
Two years after the protests, victims of police violence are still waiting for justice, writes Yasna Mussa in the Post Opinión. The next government must end police impunity, she argues.
A new Cadem poll puts Chile's conservative presidential candidate José Antonio Kast at a statistical tie with leftist frontrunner Gabriel Boric, each with about 20 percent ahead of next month's vote. Kast's ascent comes as center-right candidate Sebastián Sichel dropped in popularity, reports Bloomberg. If no candidate obtains 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will determine the next president.
Kast's sudden rise in opinion polls ahead of next month's presidential election challenges Chile's shift to the left after broad social protests in 2019. Fears over migration, public security and shifting social values have boosted the far right, reports the Guardian.
Kast's surge largely builds on a drop of support for Sebastian Sichel, a conservative candidate from outgoing President Sebastian Piñera's ruling coalition. Sichel spoke out against a measure Congress passed that allowed citizens to withdraw a portion of their pension funds, yet when the measure was approved, he himself withdrew the maximum permitted. Sichel has also been affected by the government's unpopularity, including its response to violence in this week's protests, reports AFP.
Nearly 68 percent of Chileans want to impeach President Sebastian Piñera, according the monthly Pulso Ciudadano poll. (Telesur)