Chileans vote to ditch Pinochet era constitution

Daniel Forrest, is a member of the YCL in the North East

On 18 October, Chileans took part in a historic referendum, the result of a mass uprising of workers last year, to decide if a new constitution should be created to replace the anti worker Pinochet era constitution.

Despite many workers not being able to take part with as many as 100,000 miners being unable to vote due to work combined with the difficulties of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Chilean workers did not disappoint as they voted overwhelmingly for change.

With results announced yesterday, of the 7,562,173 people (50.9% of those eligible to vote) that took part, a whopping 5,646,427 (78.99%) voted in favour of a new constitution. Strongest advocacy for a new constitution came from the communists and socialists, but parties from across the political spectrum gave tacit or real support to the yes vote.

The vote was even more significant because it also decided that the new Constitution would be drawn up by a body which will be 100% elected by a popular vote rather than one which would have been made up by 50% of members of the Chilean Congress.

Responding to the result, the Comando Apreubo Chile Digno coalition, which campaigned for the new constitution and includes the Communist Party of Chile, declared, “This October 25, the people of Chile threw away the Pinochet constitution, the constitution that governed the destiny of this unequal country in the last 47 years of social, economic and political life in our country. That constitution imposed by neoliberalism, once the dictatorship was exhausted, survived the last 30 years thanks to the duopoly of the “transition to democracy”, of those who accommodated themselves to neoliberalism and did not want to change anything. But it ended. From the bases of all the communities of the country, today a new dignified and sovereign constitution begins to germinate as its people.”

The next step for this dignified and sovereign Chile is to build the unity of the anti-neoliberal forces, with a unitary list of representatives in the Convention who express this transformative project, which raises the people’s program, thus ensuring compliance with the majority mandate of society. Rights, guaranteeing fidelity to the people who opened this opportunity and ensuring that the Constitutional Convention exercises the mandate as a true Constituent Assembly. At this historic moment, we call for unity to all anti-neoliberal political forces, to social movements, to residents and assemblies or councils of the territories, to organized women, to workers’ organizations and unions, to youth and students, to the original peoples-nations, to social, cultural and environmental organizations; to all those who fight in every corner of Chile for the profound changes that the people mandate.

Chile’s voters will cast their votes again on 11 April 2021 to elect the 155 delegates who will make up the new Constitutional Convention.

Daniel Forrest

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