From “the most progressive constitution in the world” Chile is now taking a far right turn

The shift to the right is the result of the vote that took place among the Chilean people last weekend. In that vote, the conservative opposition, led by the right-wing agitator José Antonio Caste, won a generous majority. Thus, the right also obtains a majority in the Constitutional Council, which oversees constitutional reform.

An earlier review attempt led by the left-wing government of President Gabriel Borik failed. He defeated the former student activist Caste in the 2021 presidential election to become Chile’s youngest president ever at the age of 35. On the waves of his popularity, he drafted a new constitution, which was considered “one of the most progressive in the world,” according to the Reuters news agency.

In 2020, 80% of Chileans voted to rewrite the old constitution, which was still being written under the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. The Porec Constitution emphasized social security, environmental rights, gender equality, and the rights of indigenous peoples. This version went too far for the Chileans. She was found very polarizing and was voted down immediately with about 62 percent of the vote.

Now it’s the opposition’s turn to try. Cast’s Republican Party took 35 percent of the vote on Sunday, and a coalition of right-wing and center-right parties took about 20 percent. The Left Coalition of President Gabriel Borik hung at around 29 percent.

Far right seal

The two right (center) groups are expected to work together, in which case Borik’s alliance will have little impact on Chile’s new constitution. Therefore, it is feared that it will carry an extreme right-wing character. All constitutional articles will eventually have to be submitted to Parliament, and each will need a 60 percent majority to be submitted.

Porec’s popularity declined due to a disappointing economy and high crime rates. So Sunday’s vote was a direct indication of his left-wing government. Kast, who lost to Borik in the 2021 presidential election by clear numbers, reacted jubilantly with the outcome. In a speech in Santiago, he said: “Today is the first day of a new beginning for Chile. Chile has defeated a failed government.”

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Denton Watson

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