Pinochet’s Constitution remains in Chile as a ballast

At a standstill are the negotiations between the ruling party and the opposition in Chile to give a continuation to the constituent process. Last September, the “rejection” option triumphed in the plebiscite on the proposed constitution that sought to replace the 1980 one — promulgated by Pinochet himself — and still in force in the country.

There were more than 7,800,000 Chileans who rejected the text of the Constitutional Convention compared to 4,800,000 who approved a text that proposed greater social rights, with a feminist and environmental perspective.

A Constitution was proposed that promised a greater number of social rights, with a feminist and environmental perspective

And although the right was a minority in the convention (elected democratically in 2020) it managed to impose a story in the media and social networks about The inconvenience of promulgating “plurinationality” (one of the pillars of the new Magna Carta) and the alternative of rewriting “a (constitution) that unites us” and without ambiguities about private property or entrepreneurship, as this proposal was accused without many arguments too “radical” supposedly.

However, none of that happened, with the Government of Gabriel Boric hit by the results —although without openly admitting it— and an opposition that interpreted them as its own triumph, from Monday, September 5, the meetings began to decide how fulfill this promise to continue the constituent process. The last one was on Friday night where the president of the senateAlvaro Elizalde (Socialist Party) tried to agree with the ruling party, in a day of more than ten hours, to achieve a proposal to show the opposition. All this, in the same building of the former National Congress in the heart of Santiago where the constituent convention met between 2021 and 2022.

“Voting Experts”

Initially, the government parties gambled for convention with 100% of its members elected by popular vote, as above. Another idea that came up was a mixed convention where half is democratically elected and with a 50% “experts” that they would be elected by Congress in the first instance, something that failed to convince all the parties, especially the coalition I approve Dignity —Broad Front and Communist Party— which is the core of Boric’s government.

The new option was a “dimmed mixed“: 70 popularly elected members and 30 experts who will be able to work on a constitutional draft, but with the right to vote exclusively in harmonization and closure of the text. The right rejected again. What these parties want is to impose experts with the right to speak and vote. And, apparently, they will not back down.

Supposedly an agreement was going to be reached in October, but the opposition considered that it was a bad date since that month symbolizes the beginning of the Social outbreak of 2019, when large protests were raised throughout the country that concentrated a million people in Santiago alone. These demonstrations alternated with days of riots that destabilized the right-wing government of Sebastián Piñera, the burning of several metro stations (in one case still never clarified), a dozen deaths and hundreds of young people with loss of eyes product of rubber bullets from carabineros who acted with extreme violence.

In 2010, 80% of Chileans supported a new Constitution

For the right, it was best to do it in November, since it symbolized the agreement for peace, achieved by the political class —with special leadership of the current president Boric— who managed to avoid a very possible process of impeachment of Piñera (something that would have been unprecedented in the history of Chile). Instead, the then president ended up accepting a political solution to the crisis through a constitutional process that, although it swept the entry plebiscite in 2010, with almost 80% of Chileans supporting a new Constitution, three months ago its text was rejected. .

yellow power

“I want to tell you very responsibly that today we will not have an agreement due to the pressure from Amarillos and the resistance of Renovación Nacional,” said the president of the PS, Natalia Piergentili. Regarding the last party that together with the Independent Democratic Union (UDI) are part of the Chilean right.

It’s not a secret that from the beginning they opposed the constitutional textalthough not explicitly to a new constitution. The novelty are the “Yellows”, a group in the process of becoming a political party whose most visible face was Christian Warnken, poet and interviewer of intellectuals on television. Someone who still defines himself as “left” but who has rejected the work of the convention through columns and television appearances.

In Chile, the term yellows was used to designate those who during the Social Outbreak avoided positioning themselves

In Chile, those who do not take sides are called yellow for no option, the lukewarm and that during the Social Outbreak it was widely used to criticize those political, television, sports or cultural figures who avoided commenting on the situation until some, like Warnken, began to appropriate the term.

Almost as if this were one of Roberto Bolaño’s novels about the delusional Chilean character (whom Warnken himself interviewed), not even the traditional right has been so explicit in rejecting the constituent process and demanding that the “experts” write a Enduring Magna Carta.

The poet has defended himself in the Chilean milieu The Mercurythe same newspaper where he publishes a weekly column: “It is disgraceful to say that Amarillos is blocking the agreement, a lie. I clearly interpret this as a kind of communication operation that wants to endorse Amarillos for not advancing and not having reached an agreement in the days that an agreement was expected to be reached (…) Does anyone really believe that such a small party Can you back down, torpedo a negotiation in which conglomerates participate with several deputies and senators? This accusation is truly unpresentable. It’s ridiculous.”

Boric’s Decisive Challenge

Although, to avoid accusations of interventionism the president of Chile could never openly support the “I approve” option Beyond giving away copies of the project and autographing them at the insistence of people, it is clear that he is the person who should unlock this entire process.

“As President of the Republic, I am convinced that an imperfect agreement is preferable to not having an agreement”

Although he has been accused multiple times of giving too much political “flips”such as criticizing the former president Particio Aylwin and then praise him after the unveiling of a statue in his honor, apparently the only option he would have would be to support the inclusion of these “experts” and manage to negotiate with a right that believes it has citizen power. Something of that was seen these days where he stated: “As President of the Republic, I am convinced that an imperfect agreement is preferable to not having an agreement.”

Although he also said that it was important that the political parties reached an agreement, this was not fulfilled and even, as the Chilean newspaper reported Thirda member of the ruling party, who did not want to identify himself reflected a generalized perception: “Boric is like the Bible, everyone interprets it in a different way.“. Something that is disturbing since, however joke it may be —for the worse coming from his own sector— alludes to a lack of force in the president’s message or perhaps a certain ambiguity in the ordering of the parties that support it.

This Monday the talks return and, considering Boric’s ability to reach agreements or even hit the table when necessary, there may be surprises.

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