CHILEANS VOTE TO CHANGE PINOCHET-ERA CONSTITUTION
Chile is getting closer to a new constitution as the election of the 155 members of the Constituent Assembly began in the South American country on Saturday (Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Manila), Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
On Saturday and Sunday, Chileans are also voting for mayors, municipal councilors and governors. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the election had been postponed from April to May.
In October, Chileans voted by a large majority to draft a new constitution. The current text from 1980 dates back to the time of the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
Critics complained that the constitution enshrined the neoliberal economic system, made far-reaching changes to the law difficult due to high quorums and guaranteed hardly any basic social rights.
A new constitution was one of the core demands of the demonstrators who took to the streets in their thousands against the government at the end of 2019. Around 1,300 candidates are vying for a seat in the Constituent Assembly.
Half of the delegates are to be women, and 17 mandates are also reserved for representatives of indigenous communities. After one year at the latest, the Constitutional Convention is to present a new constitution, on which the Chileans will again vote in a referendum.