The Stream

How will rewriting Chile’s constitution change the country?

On Wednesday, March 2 at 19:30 GMT:
Chile’s constitutional convention has begun debating motions for a new magna carta – one that will replace the dictatorship-era constitution many Chileans view as the source of the country’s social inequality.

The constitutional rewrite was approved in a national referendum in 2020, following widespread protests in 2019 over a subway fare increase that led to emergency declarations in major cities.

Progressives in the country hope the new constitution will bring major changes in a wide range of areas, including environmental protections, water rights, Indigenous land rights, marijuana legalisation and abortion rights.

The majority of citizens elected to the 155-delegate constitutional convention represent a diverse pool of independents and liberals that reflect Chile’s current political shift to the left. Once delegates have a completed draft constitution, voters will decide its approval in a nationwide referendum later this year.

Chile’s existing magna carta was enacted in 1980 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. It formed a neoliberal foundation for a state that heavily favoured privatisation, free markets, and limited government regulation.

Conservatives wary of constitutional changes credit Chile’s market-based policies with fueling decades of economic growth.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at Chile’s constitutional convention and the issues at stake for Chileans.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Valentina Matus, @ContextoFactual
Journalist, Contexto Factual

Carolina Perez Dattari, @caroperezdattar
Advisor to the constitutional convention

Patricio Navia, @patricionavia
Professor of Liberal Studies, New York University