Chile’s president receives draft of new constitution

Chile’s new draft constitution has been submitted to President Gabriel Boric, after a year-long process that saw constituent assembly members debate and write up a document to replace the country’s Pinochet-era magna carta.

The new text, which will replace the constitution written during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, aims to establish new social rights.

It was drawn up by the Constitutional Convention – a constituent assembly of 154 citizens, most of whom were political independents, that will be dissolved a year to the day after it began work on July 4, 2021.

“We should feel proud that during the deepest crisis … in decades that our country has lived through, we Chileans have chosen more democracy, not less,” Boric, a left-wing former protest leader who was sworn into office in March, said during a ceremony in the capital, Santiago.

He immediately signed a decree calling a referendum on September 4, where voting in the deeply polarised country of 19 million people will be obligatory.“This September 4, it will once again be the people who will have the last word on their destiny,” Boric also said in a tweet. “Today begins a new stage where everyone makes history.”

In the first of the new constitution’s 388 articles, Chile is described as “a social and democratic state of law”, as well as “plurinational, intercultural and ecological”.

Chile “recognises the dignity, freedom, substantial equality of human beings and their indissoluble relationship with nature as intrinsic and inalienable values”, says the new constitution.

Chileans voted last year for the Constitutional Convention members who would work to replace the Pinochet-era constitution, which critics blamed for long-standing socioeconomic inequalities in the South American nation.

Calls for a new constitution grew out of mass 2019 protests that broke out in anger over rising costs of living and other issues.

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