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CHILEANS VOTE TO EITHER DUMP PINOCHET CONSTITUTION OR RETAIN IT

Polls have opened in Chile for a referendum on whether the Pinochet-era constitution should be torn up and replaced by a fresh charter drafted by citizens, a key demand in protests that erupted last year, Aislinn Laing and Fabian Cambero reported for Reuters

Fierce anti-government demonstrations over inequality and elitism in one of Latin America’s most advanced economies broke out last fall and resumed as coronavirus lockdowns were eased. 


Voters have 12 hours beginning at 8 a.m. (1100 GMT) to cast their ballots. More than 14.8 million people are eligible to vote at 2,715 polling stations up and down the long thin country, although COVID sufferers have been told to stay away on threat of arrest. 


Chileans can decide whether to approve or reject a new constitution and whether it should be drafted by a specially elected citizens’ body, made up half of women and half of men, and indigenous representatives, or a mix of citizens and lawmakers. The winning camp needs a simple majority. Opinion polls suggest a new charter will be approved by a significant margin.




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