The Republican Party was the big winner after the elections of this May 7, obtaining 22 of 50 constitutional councilors. The Republican Party received these votes despite refusing to be part of the Agreement for Chile, an alliance between political parties that initiated this second constitutional process.
On the other hand, the center-left was the great loser of the day, not obtaining any representation within the body.
This May 7, 15.1 million Chileans were summoned to elect the 50 members of the Constitutional Council, the body that will be in charge of drafting the proposal for a new Constitution. This second attempt comes out of an agreement between the political parties following the rejection by the citizens, on September 4, 2022, of a first attempt at a new Constitution drafted by the Constitutional Convention of Chile.
The leader of the right-wing party, José Antonio Kast —who competed with the current president, Gabriel Boric, in the 2021 presidential elections— after hearing of the numbers published by the Electoral Service, in which the Republican Party won 22 seats, said that “there is not much to celebrate because Chile is not well.”
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“Chile has defeated a failed government, which has been incapable of facing the security, immigration, economic, and social crises where everything goes up, homicides go up, migration goes up, the waiting lists and people living in camps,” Kast said.
“We can be happy because we achieved an important goal. It is time to work together for the good of Chile,” he added.
With 90.68% of the polling stations counted, the voting results were as follows:
- The center-left parties that made up the electoral alliance Todo Por Chile, in which a leading role is played by the Christian Democratic Party, which governed the country after the dictatorship (1990-2000), did not obtain a single seat on the Constitutional Council.
- The People’s Party, led by Franco Parisi, which had positioned itself strongly on the center right, did not obtain a seat either.
- The traditional right, through the Chile Seguro pact, made up of Evópoli, Renovación Nacional, and the Unión Democrática Independiente, obtained 11 seats.
- The Republican Party was the big winner of the day with 22 elected councilors. This gives them veto power over the Constitutional Council.
- The Unity pact for Chile, made up of the parties of the government coalition, obtained 17 seats.
- Despite the fact that, initially, the Constitutional Council was planned to have 50 members, as a result of the vote designated for Indigenous peoples, one more seat was added to grant Indigenous representation.
The Republicans obtained more than one third of the seats in the Council. In addition, if the 11 places obtained by Chile Seguro are added, the right could approve the regulations without the need to reach agreements with the government or the center-left.
The head of the deputies of the Socialist Party, Daniel Manouchehri, pointed out that “the results are not good news for those of us who believe in change.”
President Gabriel Boric addressed the country before the results of the election of councilors. The president invited the Republican Party “not to make the same mistake that we made at the time.”
“Our country, once again, uses dialogue to resolve its differences because we have all understood across the political spectrum that democracy is always defended and strengthened with more democracy and never with less,” said Boric.
“This day marks the completion of a new stage of the constituent process that began in 2019 at difficult times for our country,” added Boric, referring to the widespread demonstrations that broke out in Chile in October of that year.
The large number of invalid votes
Prior to the elections on May 7, some parliamentarians and political leaders called for a blank or null vote in the election of the Constitutional Council as a way of questioning the legitimacy of the process. In addition, various social and political organizations came together in the “I Cancel” slogan to criticize the agreement between political parties that initiated this new constituent process.
Former congressman Hugo Gutiérrez, a former member of the Communist Party (PC), was one of the first to support the option to cancel. The politician warned through social media that “he will act with conscientious objection, and will not participate in this democratic fraud.”
Después de lapidaria crítica de Daniel Matamala a elección de consejer@s, el camino? Objeción de conciencia, no participando de este fraude democráticohttps://t.co/Byc3vQr3PV
— Hugo Gutiérrez (@Hugo_Gutierrez_) April 23, 2023
The independent senator Karim Bianchi, together with the independent deputies Camila Musante and Hernán Palma, made a public call to the citizens for a null vote in this election of constitutional councilors.
“Since this [new] [constituent] process began, we have seen how Chile has been violated by the political parties, has been repeatedly violated by the parties,” said the senator from Magallanes at a press conference held on April 26 from the National Congress.
“The experts [who are working on the preliminary draft of the magna carta] are proving to be puppets, puppets of the political parties, writing everything for the perpetuity of the parties,” Bianchi added.
Bianchi accused the right and the left of seeking to set the conditions to weaken independent movements and emerging parties: “if the previous constitution had hints of [being] undemocratic, I think that what is being tarnished is much greater.”
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How is the constituent process developing?
Prior to the Agreement by Chile, the pact that began this second attempt to change the constitution imposed by Augusto Pinochet during his dictatorship (1973 – 1990), the political forces—with the exception of the Republican Party—agreed on a series of constitutional bases for this new process.
One of them was to consider Chile as a democratic republic whose sovereignty resides in the “unitary and decentralized” state. In addition, the country was recognized as a “social and democratic state of rights” with a division of powers betweeen executive, judicial, and legislative power.
In order to comply with the constitutional bases agreed by the political parties, the parliament created the Technical Admissibility Committee, made up of 12 members, which will have the responsibility of ensuring that the approved norms do not contradict the 12 constitutional bases contemplated in the Agreement by Chile.
On March 6, the Panel of Experts was installed in the old headquarters of the National Congress. The panel is composed of 24 members appointed by the political parties who must draft a proposal for a Constitution which is to be delivered to the new elected body.
The Constitutional Council, elected on May 7, will begin its work on June 7 and will have five months to prepare the final proposal for a new constitution which, like the previous one, will be voted on by the citizens of Chile on December 17.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
kwjorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/kwjogobonito/May 30, 2023
kwjorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/kwjogobonito/May 23, 2023
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