Chile ends dictatorship, votes for new constitution

The Republic of Chile celebrates as its citizens vote for a new constitution overwriting the dictatorship-era.

In the next two years, Chile is ready to draft a new constitution. On Sunday, October 25, millions of people voted against the Pinochet-era constitution and chose a fresh charter drafted by citizens.

The dictatorship constitution is imposed by General Augusto Pinochet, a dictator who was later accused and was held responsible for many human rights violations during his regime.

Over the weekend, from the 90% of votes registered, nearly 78.24% choose to rewrite the constitution. The new constitution which is yet to be drafted, will be overwriting the principles imposed four decades ago.

The steps towards a new constitution

The election commission stated that nearly 7.5 million Chileans cast their votes. It is the highest turnout since the 1989 election, which ended the military rule. As the counting of the votes took place on live television, thousands of citizens flooded the streets to celebrate the victory.

Furthermore, the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, praised the peaceful voting procedures. He addressed the Chileans that it will be a long road that they all have to walk together. The referendum was first announced in November of last year.

It focused on two main questions. Whether they wanted a new constitution and what kind of body should draft it.

The happening comes after year-long protests and rallies by the civilians disagreeing with the inequalities and government policies. In the protests, civilians clashed with the police forces, nearly killing 30 individuals and injured thousands of others.

No involvement of political leaders

The referendum, originally due in April 2021, expects postponement to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Four-fifths of voters said that a specially elected body of citizens should draft the new constitutions.

It means no legislators nor anyone from political parties will be involved in the drafting committee. The political and social groups will have two months to nominate candidates to form a constitutional assembly.

An equal proportion of men and women

Moreover, it will consist of 155 members with an equal proportion of men and women. It will also be the world’s first constitution to achieve gender equality.

The members will draft the charter over a period of nine months with a three months extension option. As it’s ready, voters will decide if they accept the new charter to replace the old ones. The agreement will be via the voting system and should have a majority to replace the 1980 charter.

As a part of the change, the Chileans demand an end to dictatorship. Their further demands include better health care, pensions, education, end to inequality, and more.

Image courtesy of streetflash/Shutterstock

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