Chile Takes Another Stab at Drafting a New Constitution

Chile Takes Another Stab at Drafting a New Constitution
A government worker stocks a booth with copies of the proposed draft of the new constitution outside the La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, Aug. 10, 2022 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Chile’s embattled young president, Gabriel Boric, pulled off one important victory before the end of a rocky 2022. Three months after Chilean voters rejected a draft constitution, Boric brokered an agreement with the country’s multiple political forces setting out the process for another try at producing a new basic document.

The first effort ended in disaster, particularly for Boric. The 36-year-old leftist leader had made the project a centerpiece of his presidency, and he seemed to have the wind at his back. But it all went embarrassingly wrong, putting even more pressure on his sagging popularity—his approval stands at 29 percent—and strengthening the hand of the opposition.

It all started in 2019, before Boric came to power, when a plan to raise metro fares in Santiago, the capital, raised the lid off simmering frustrations, producing a social explosion that left dozens dead. The government agreed to a radical plan: Chile’s constitution, written during the Pinochet dictatorship and revised many times since, would be tossed out and replaced with a brand-new document.

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