The Stream

What does a proposed constitution promise for Chile?

On Wednesday, August 31 at 19:30 GMT:
Chileans are preparing to vote in a referendum on a draft constitution that breaks decisively from the country’s current magna carta.

The mandatory poll on September 4 will decide on the adoption of a text finalised by an elected 154-member constitutional convention and presented to recently inaugurated President Gabriel Boric in July. The drafting process was approved in a 2020 referendum that followed widespread protests in 2019 over deepening social and economic inequality.

Proponents say the draft constitution responds to the concerns of the public by granting a range of social, economic and environmental rights. It mandates gender parity in public institutions and aims to boost representation of minority groups and Indigenous communities. It will also replace the Senate with a Chamber of Regions that supporters say will better represent the entire country.

But opponents of the draft contend that the 54,000-word draft – 12 times the length of the US Constitution – is unwieldy. Right-wing parties say that the current constitution, which was enacted in 1980 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, is the bedrock of Chile’s free market-based economy and needs to be revised, rather than be replaced outright.

In this episode of The Stream we will look at what a new constitution could mean for Chile as referendum day approaches.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Valentina Matus, @ContextoFactual
Editor, Contexto Factual

Kimana Zulueta-Fülscher, @kzulueta
Senior Programme Officer, Constitution-Building Programme, IDEA International

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