Chileans vote for 155 members in the rally to draft new constitution | News in Latin America

Chileans voted on Sunday in a second day of polls to elect 155 delegates to the Constituent Assembly, which will also write the constitution during the country’s dictatorship in a request to address the deep equality of social awakening that sparked deadly protests in 2019.

About 14 million people are eligible to vote this weekend in what many consider to be Chile’s most important election since the return to democracy 31 years ago.

More than three million people, or an estimated 20.4 percent of voters, cast their ballots on Saturday, according to the country’s Electoral Service.

“I hope we have a constitution that captures the soul of our country,” President Sebastian Pinera said after casting his ballot in the capital Santiago.

Silvia Navarrete, a 35-year-old economist, was at a Santiago polling station hugging her daughter.

He said he voted for a system that would “work for everyone, allowing all voices to be heard” and ensure that rights and duties are truly equal for all people.

Forty -year university professor Carlos Huertas says his ballot will go to candidates active in “this social revolution” – aimed at the 2019 protests.

Chile’s constitution dates back to 1980, enforced by the height of dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rule in 1973-1990, and has been widely blamed for blocking equitable development in a country designated as one of the most unfair. in advanced economies.

Inequality was a major driver of the October 2019 protests, which resulted a month ago – after 36 deaths – in the government approving a referendum on a new constitution.

That plebiscite, originally scheduled for April 2020 but delayed due to coronavirus disease, finally took place on October 25 last year.

The result was not good: 80 percent voted for a new constitution to be made by a body composed entirely of elected members.

Sex equality

This weekend, more than 1,300 candidates ran to be a part of history.

Analysts say the election was a battle between candidates from left and right parties, who were not expected to garner any meaningful support.

The parties to the left are seeking more state control over minerals and other natural resources – many privatized from dictation – and more public spending on education, health, pensions and social welfare.

Election workers carry ballot boxes containing ballots to Valparaiso [Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters]

Those on the right, with a nod to the need to increase social support, have largely defended the capitalist, free market system for which they are grateful for Chile’s decades of economic growth.

In the first world, half of the candidates were – by scheme – women.

This is also the case for the 155-member drafting group, which has nine months to draft a new founding law for Chile, to be approved or rejected next year by a mandatory national vote.

Seventeen seats on the writing of the constitutional “convention” were reserved for indigenous representatives.

Voters this week will also elect regional governors, mayors and local councilors – usually a litmus test for the presidential election, next November.

Rich, but not fair

Campaigning became complicated amid a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in more than 1.2 million cases and nearly 30,000 deaths in the country’s 19 million people, with the two-day election format being cut short by the pandemic. .

Chile has one of the highest vaccination rates, with more than 48.5 percent of the 15.2 million target population receiving two doses to date.

The country has the highest per capita income and the third most millionaires in Latin America. But those who work and even the middle class living heavily in debt, often pay for schooling and private pensions.

An OECD report in February said that “continuing high inequality” was a significant challenge for Chile, with 53 per cent of households classified as economically dangerous and the poorest 20 per cent in households that earn only a small percentage of total income.

There is a short level of satisfaction with quality of life.

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