The Chilean government agrees to change the inherited Pinochet Constitution


► What does the government of Sebastian Pinera now offer?

Three weeks after the beginning of a social movement of unprecedented magnitude since the fall of the dictatorship, the Chilean government has acceded to one of the main demands of the protesters: a new Constitution, instead of the one currently in force, adopted in 1980, when Augusto Pinochet held the country with an iron fist.

"We have agreed to pave the way for a new Constitution. We think it's a job we have to do thinking about the country, " said Sunday, November 10 the Minister of the Interior, Gonzalo Blumel. The announcement came after a meeting between President Sebastian Pinera and leaders of the right-wing and center-right parties who have supported him since his return to power in early 2018.

In Chile, President Sebastian Piñera deadlocked

The details are still few on the method and the calendar. Gonzalo Blumel merely evoked "Broad participation of the population" and a "Ratification referendum". Among the proposed changes are "A better definition of human rights and how to enforce" these rights, the government said. The planned amendments also specify "The obligations of the state" and establish "Better mechanisms for participation" citizen.

► Why do protesters demand a new constitution?

If this movement of anger is born in response to the increase, in early October, the price of the metro ticket, the origins of Chilean malaise are much deeper. It is the social inequalities that the protesters denounce: Chile has managed, over the last three decades, to reduce poverty significantly – but without touching the economic model inherited from the dictatorship, which makes the country one of the most inequitable in the world. the planet.

Soon, therefore, a more global demand emerged, beyond the desired reforms in education, health, and so on. : change the Constitution, denounced as the real lock of a system that gives pride to the private sector. Adopted in 1980, it was designed to ensure the status quo, notably by imposing qualified majorities – that is, greater than the absolute majority, half of the votes plus one – for the main reforms.

Badly extinct embers of the Chilean dictatorship

Since the return of democracy, the Chilean right has always slowed down the four shackles when it came to change the Constitution, and only margin changes were possible. Shortly after his return to power, Sebastian Pinera was quick to announce that it would not allow the consideration of a bill that the previous president, the Socialist Michelle Bachelet, had submitted to Congress to change the 1980 text to include the inviolability of human rights, the right to health and education, and equal pay for men and women.


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