“No” to the new constitution in Chile: a “too radical” progressive text, rejected to challenge the president

For the right, the text is too radicalexplains Christophe Ventura, who is also the author of ‘Geopolitics of Latin America’ (to be published in October by Eyrolles). “Whether it is about proclaiming a plurinational Chile, about the rights of Indians, or about sexual minorities. The weight of Catholic culture is enormous in Chile, and weighs on these issues, and on that of abortion. “

The conservative sector, traditional overwhelmingly voted no“, adds François Reman, journalist at the Revue Nouvelle. “These are the people who voted for the far-right candidate in the last presidential election (José Antonio Kast, who obtained 45% of the votes). They live well from this Chilean neoliberal model. They don’t see the need to change things.”

The no has crossed the borders of the Chilean right to take on part of the more moderate Chilean center left.

However, the right is not the only one to have voted against the new fundamental law. “The no has crossed the borders of the Chilean rightanalyzes Christophe Ventura, to take on board part of the more moderate Chilean center left, attached to certain traditional values, such as that of the family, which also found that this Constitution went too far. All these ‘Chili-there’, both from the more affluent, right-wing categories and the center-left urban middle classes met in the no.”

Disinformation

The draft Constitution has 388 articles, spread over 178 pages. “Most people have not read the text, so what matters is what the media say about it, but the media are still mainly in the hands of the economic and political elites who have mobilized against the text”says Geoffrey Pleyers (UCLouvain).

Disinformation has instilled unfounded fears, that of losing the right to property, that of an indigenous justice that would apply to everyone, or that of a possible abortion until the ninth month of pregnancy.

President’s Rejection

The no to the Constitution proposal is also a vote of rejection of the government, and of its left-wing president, Gabriel Boric, elected in December 2021. “Boric has to face an economic crisis, a migration crisis, the increase in the feeling of insecurity in the big cities and the problems of violence between the Mapuche community and the big landowners in the south of the country, it is also a vote of CONTESTATION“, notes François Reman.

The “rechazo“is a personal failure for Gabriel Boric, a young president who emerged during social movements and played an important role in the establishment of a new Constitution.”He needs this new Constitution to implement the program he promised the Chileans“, analyzes Christophe Ventura. “Without a Constitution, no structural economic and social reforms, so it is a political failure.

And now ?

I pledge to do everything in my power to build a new constitutional processl,” President Boric said.

From the presidential palace of La Moneda, he launched “an appeal to all political forces to put Chile ahead of any legitimate divergence, and to agree as quickly as possible on deadlines and outlines“of this new process”in which, of course, Parliament will have to be the main protagonist“.

Assuming that the need for a new Constitution is unanimous, the president should seek to build a new project, more balanced this time. “That’s why he calls a meeting of all political parties at the presidential palace. But the right is already announcing that it will not participate in this process, so we are entering into a political crisis.”

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