With the hangover still fresh from the resounding rejection of the constitutional proposal in Chile, the ruling party announced on Monday an agreement with the presidents of the political parties —except the far-right Republican Party— on the five base points for the new constituent process : draft a new Constitution, that it be written by a body 100% elected by the citizens, that this group be equal and advised by a committee of experts, and that the final result be submitted to a plebiscite with a binding result and with a compulsory vote. Hours later, the leaders of the right issued a statement in which they assure that the agreements have not yet been finalized.
Although 62% of citizens rejected the proposal made by the convention on September 4, there is a cross-sectional consensus that the current Constitution lacks legitimacy since 78% voted to change it in October 2020. After the failure of approval in the polls, President Gabriel Boric entrusted the Parliament to negotiate the continuity of the process. The transfer of responsibility will allow the Executive to concentrate solely on meeting the most urgent demands of citizens. In any case, the newly appointed general secretary of the Presidency, the socialist Ana Lya Uriarte, will accompany the Congress process from the Executive.
After the second meeting to define the constituent itinerary between the leaders of the entire political arc with parliamentary representation, the president of the Senate, the socialist Álvaro Elizalde, announced that “the obligation was agreed for the exit vote, parity and a role for a commission of experts. This first step would rule out an entry plebiscite to ask citizens again if they want a new constitution and what kind of body they want to draft it, an idea that came from right-wing militants, but was discarded by parliamentary chiefs. The agreement would also guarantee that the body that writes the proposal will have the advice of a committee of experts, something that did not happen in the first attempt.
The idea of a mixed commission made up of non-political citizens and parliamentarians has also been ruled out. The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Raúl Soto, of the Party for Democracy (PPD), has defended the idea of a 100% elected body with the aim of drafting a new text to “validate and legitimize the popular mandate of the people of Chile that was delivered in the entry plebiscite”. On that occasion, in October 2020, 79% of voters chose a convention made up of 155 citizens, with parity between men and women. Only 21% chose the mixed convention, that is, with members of Congress, which would have been made up of 172 members.
The presidents of the right-wing parties Renovación Nacional, Unión Demócrata Independiente and Evópoli have assured hours after the announcement that they find “regrettable the declarations of government ministers and officials of the ruling party who seek to precipitate results, putting the ongoing talks and agreements at risk.” ”. “We will continue to work decisively, cautiously and responsibly, without calm, but without haste, to reach the agreements that are needed, which have not yet been finalized. Announcing agreements that have not yet been signed threatens trust and the collaborative spirit, to the point of evaluating the relevance of the paths offered”, they added, taking the floor away from the presidents of both Houses of Congress.
Among the pending issues for discussion are whether there will be seats reserved for indigenous peoples and how many. Depending on political will, it is quite likely that they do exist, but in smaller numbers than in the first convention, when they held 17 of the 155 seats. The idea of the center and the right is that their participation in the new convention is proportional to their effective vote. It also remains to be defined whether the participation of independent lists will be allowed. The operation and design of this new stage will be discussed as of Thursday at a negotiation table that will be formed and constituted with a representative of each political party with parliamentary representation.
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