SANTIAGO ( Associated Press) — The Chilean Constitutional Convention on Saturday voted on the latest provisions of the draft Constitution that will be proposed to Chileans to replace the one imposed by a military dictatorship 41 years ago, which states that “Chile is a Plurinational and Intercultural State” .
The proposal recognizes for the first time at the constitutional level the existence of 11 native peoples, in a country in which the indigenous are 12.8% of the 19 million Chileans.
Among the more than 400 norms proposed by the conventionalists, there are several that arouse controversy among Chileans, such as the one that eliminates the Senate, the one that creates parallel justice systems –one national and the other indigenous– and the demand for parity in the directions of public and semi-public bodies.
They also propose new fundamental rights, including the right to decent housing, decent work, equitable, fair and sufficient remuneration and equal remuneration for equal work.
The Chilean constitutional process arose from a transversal political agreement in November 2019 after a social outbreak and massive protests against inequalities. Almost a year later, 78% of Chileans voted to change the Constitution.
The 155 drafters of the new Constitution, the majority from the left, were elected a year ago and on Saturday they voted on the latest provisions of the constitutional project that Chileans will approve or reject in a plebiscite on September 4. If it is rejected, the one imposed by the dictator Augusto Pinochet will remain in force.
The conventional ones left a large number of enunciated norms and, if they are accepted, the Congress will have to implement them.
This week the government of President Gabriel Boric, continuing with the current policy, announced that this year 40 million dollars will be allocated to the purchase of land to hand over to indigenous people, a figure that will rise to 86 million dollars in the following years.
The conventional approved by more than 2/3, like the other norms, an article that puts an end to the current subsidiary State and replaces it with a “Social and Democratic State of Law”. In addition, it approved other articles that indicate that Chile will be a “Parity Democracy” and that the State must promote “a society in which women, men, diversities and gender-based dissidences participate in conditions of substantive equality.”
It also approved a rule that indicates that all State bodies, “public and semi-public companies must have a parity composition that ensures that at least 50% of its members are women.”
Starting next Tuesday, the Harmonization commissions will work –to make the proposal more neat and coherent– and the Transitory Norms, which will set the deadlines for moving from the current institutional framework to the new one.
Until last March, various surveys indicated that the majority of Chileans approved the constitutional proposal in the plebiscite. However, the figures began to change in May, when a survey by Plaza Pública Cadem indicated that 48% of those consulted said they would reject it and 35% would approve it. Other companies gave similar percentages.
Among the reasons for rejecting the text, according to the survey, 55% indicated distrust of the conventional ones and 44% disagreed with the proposed norms. Not a few conventional ones staged internal fights and others became political activists or presented unfeasible projects that were rejected by the plenary.
“I do not accept that everyone is put in the same boat for the Convention because of the nonsense that a couple of conventionalists have done,” Boric said at the beginning of the month, adding that “my personal option is that we have a new Constitution on the 4th.” of September”.