A week before a referendum in Chile, polls indicate rejection of the new Constitution

A week before the referendum on a new Constitution in Chile, polls point to the failure of the proposal to replace the Magna Carta inherited from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet with one that establishes more social rights.

All polls put the “rejection” option ahead of voting intentions for September 4, with percentages reaching 56% and an advantage over “approval” between 4 and 12 points.

But polls also show a large percentage of undecided people (from 10 to 15%), and in the streets there is a marked citizen mobilization in favor of the “approval” of the text written by a Constituent Assembly elected by popular vote, with gender parity and seats. reserved for indigenous people.

“I vote for rejection mainly because the idea of ​​creating (the new Constitution) was born at a time of great crisis in our country; It wasn’t a decision made objectively.” AFP Luz Galarce, teacher.

Esteban Córdoba, a 40-year-old visual artist, is in favor of the new text, which in his opinion “opens a window, not yet a door, for us to become a developed nation”.

mandatory vote

“The most likely event is that the rejection wins and the difference in that result depends on how many people vote and who votes,” he explains to AFP Marcelo Mella, political scientist at the University of Santiago.

More than 15 million Chileans are due to go to the polls next Sunday, in the first call since 2012 in which voting will be mandatory and with a fine for not attending.

According to the academic, the advance of the “rejection” of the new constitutional text is mainly due to “problems in certain contents” related to the organization of the State, and not so much for the rights it establishes.

The new Constitution seeks to change the current reduced state, which prioritizes private investment, to a social welfare state, with a wide range of fundamental rights.

Among the most controversial proposals are “plurinationality”, or recognition of different indigenous nations and indigenous peoples; the creation of a Council of Justice instead of the Judiciary, with a special indigenous justice system; and the right to abortion.

“Unprecedented” Campaign

Analysts explain the upside of “rejection” by multiple factors, including a slowing economy, a tense political environment and a successful campaign by opponents of the new Magna Carta.

They ran an unprecedented campaign compared to other right-wing campaigns if we consider that rejection is basically the defense of the status quo and maintaining Pinochet’s Constitution,” says Claudia Heiss, a political scientist at the University of Chile.

For Rodrigo Espinoza, an academic at Diego Portales University, if the new Constitution is approved in Chile, “it will establish the guidelines of constitutionalism at a global level, at least in the West”.

The political agreement for the drafting of a new Constitution establishes that, in case of rejection of the text, the current Magna Carta will remain in force, drafted during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990), but reformed dozens of times after the return to democracy. .

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