They said Chile would need a new constitution with more rights and better social protections. The Constitution that Chileans have just voted to supplant was installed by Gen. Augusto Pinochet in a … Have a confidential tip for our reporters? The fiercely critiqued pension system plaguing so many Chileans does not derive from the Constitution. There is no indication that gender parity or indigenous representation will be taken into account. In response to ongoing protests, the government eventually expressed a willingness to pursue constitutional reform, and then ceded to the demand for a new constitution. If anyone wondered what became of the fury that shook Latin America’s pre-pandemic streets, Chileans have an answer. But it’s in keeping with an excitable region where distrust in elected officialdom and the democratic contract is running high — a sentiment manifested in what Lansberg-Rodriguez calls Wiki Constitutionalism, whereby the highest laws are published and shredded with alarming regularity. Yet the economic orthodoxy it underwrote is also under assault. “It’s the sentiment that Chile is run by an entrenched elite who take turns at the helm, in a country with stubbornly high levels of inequality,” economist Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez, who teaches at  Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, told me. After last year's social protests, it was decided to consult citizens if … Sadly, that’s another Latin American asset in short supply. “The framers of Brazil’s constitution wanted to pack it with all the rights the dictatorship had voided,” said Felipe Camargo of Oxford Economics. Chilean president Sebastian Pinera is a billionaire in a country where the monthly minimum wage is less than $400. A new framework is needed in order to pursue legislation that addresses demands related to education, health, water, and other issues highlighted by the protest movement, said Pasache. A new constitution written by the people for the people gained momentum as a collective demand. “The government’s response has been inconsistent, reactive, and of repression,” Pamela Pasache, a Ministry of Education workers union leader, told Al Jazeera. But a more enduring solution is supposed to come from a referendum, to be held on October 25th, on whether Chile should scrap its constitution and write a new one. Instead, Chileans learned that savings rise or tank with the markets, life expectancy has soared and at least 29% of laborers still draw their livelihoods from the parlous informal economy. Much of the discord traces to Article 19, which limits the Chilean state to a “subsidiary role”: Government steps in only where the private sector cannot provide. For weeks, many protesters have called for a new constitution, but the ‘how’ is just as important as the ‘what’. Such virtues have raised Chile’s international cachet and inflated the self-esteem of a political establishment that measured itself alongside the advanced nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Article 192 of Brazil’s 1988 constitution famously capped interest rates at 12%, although it soon became a dead letter. Critics also point to the potential impact of the constitution drafting process on the presidential and legislative elections slated for Nov. 2021. Until recently, Chilean politicians were known and admired for their penchant for conciliation, a quality enabling the economy to hum in a turbulent hemisphere, even as the country toggled between governments of the left and the right. Preceding constitutions did not involve active citizen participation either. Hold the tear gas and water cannons. Protests continued on Friday, and so did police crackdowns. Chile’s current constitution was approved in a controversial referendum in 1980, the height of a right-wing dictatorship responsible for thousands of … “The voters have said the model has to change fundamentally, but it’s unclear how. Trump’s Republicans Are a Faction, Not a Party, A Letter From 9 Million U.S. Expats to Janet Yellen. On Sunday, they voted by a 78% majority to greenlight a new constitution and, by a like margin, for an independently elected body to do the rewrite. The first round of protests was triggered by a four-cent hike in subway fares but morphed into a broader manifestation of anger over inequality. The referendum is generally regarded as the most important vote in Chile since the end of the right-wing military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet and the return to democracy in 1990. Chileans took a tentative first step toward redrafting their constitution—imposed 40 years ago by the military regime—in what University of Miami political scientists say will be an effort fraught with challenges to address the country’s inequalities. Reuters. Myanmar scheduled a national referendum to overhaul its military-drafted Constitution in 2015. At least 23 people have been killed during the crisis. By supporting the president’s efforts to overturn the election, the party is endangering its very existence. The convention would up to a year to draft the document and pass it with a two-thirds majority. We don’t just need more regulations and mandates. People light flares as they gather to protest against Chile's government during a referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago, Chile, October 25, 2020 [Ivan Alvarado/Reuters] Protests continue as many celebrate the referendum announcement, while others criticise and reject it. Even as poverty fell, 30% of the national population still lives on the edge, the World Bank said. But ruling alliance and opposition political forces presented a 12-point “Agreement for Social Peace and a New Constitution” on Friday, which outlined the basic steps for a new constitution with citizen participation. “The original parameters for Chilean pensions are obsolete. People gather to protest against Chile’s government during a referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago, Chile. More sessions are already being organised in different parts of the country to discuss the official announcement, constitutional process and next steps. More than 2,000 people have been hospitalised, including roughly 200 people with severe eye injuries. If … Chile was due for a reckoning. We Just Have to Be Patient. Distribution does not reach the majority,” said Eduardo Rojas, a dockworker union leader in Antofagasta, a city 1,400km (870 miles) north of the capital. A constitutional overhaul is a hard turn for a market-friendly culture anchored in stability and dependable rules. In an April 2020 plebiscite, Chileans will be able to vote whether they want a new constitution and, if so, whether they want it to be drafted by a mixed citizen-legislator convention or one entirely comprised of elected citizens. The prevailing rules are what allowed this nation of 18 million to do so many things right. If Chile successfully drafts a new, inclusive social contract that balances competing interests, and if a popular majority approves that constitution in a referendum scheduled for 2022, Chile … “I am protesting for my mother,” Ana told Al Jazeera at a recent protest, shortly before police began firing volley after volley of tear gas. Chile’s income inequality outstrips its OECD peers; it has one of the highest ratios between the average income of the wealthiest 10% of its population and that of the poorest 10%. The pace-setting economy also toppled the poverty rate from 36% in 2000 to 8.6% in 2017. “Chile is a country that generates wealth. For Chile, which on Oct. 25 will vote on whether to draft a new national charter even as the country tries to come out of a deep pandemic-induced recession, the moment looks particularly inopportune. Regional courts in Antofagasta, Concepcion and La Serena have ordered police not to fire projectiles at peaceful protests and to restrict tear gas use to “extreme situations”. Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. Police have arrested thousands of people over the course of the crisis. Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera hailed the results of a national referendum held to scrap a dictatorship-era constitution as a “triumph” for democracy. The next Treasury secretary could make the lives of millions of Americans easier at no cost at all. It’s no coincidence that Chilean legislators agreed that any changes to the new charter may only be approved with a two-thirds supermajority of votes — an important firewall against more radical change. Chile’s protests have now brought the country to a historic crossroads: an Oct. 25 referendum on rewriting the country’s constitution. Antofagasta, Chile – Chileans on Friday won a vote for a new constitution written with broad citizen participation, a uniting demand of protests that have rocked the country for nearly a month. “There is so much inequality,” said Castillo. The cabildos can play a role in fomenting a new culture in Chile and in reclaiming plazas and other public spaces, said Retamales. A university history student, Ana* was protesting for universal free public education, but most of all, she was protesting for pension reform so that the generations before her can actually retire at retirement age. Chileans want to crack the code and create a welfare state. The referendum in Chile was held on Sunday with a resounding result in favor of reforming the constitution. Cristian Retamales, a local Ministry of Culture workers union leader in Antofagasta, told Al Jazeera the grassroots assemblies have been incredibly important, perhaps especially to him and so many others who grew up during Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship. But the news has also been met with trepidation, critique and outright rejection, particularly by social movements. “This is an historic night for Chile,” Senate president Jaime Quintana said during a joint announcement by ruling and opposition party leaders early Friday, hours before dawn. To contact the author of this story:Mac Margolis at mmargolis14@bloomberg.net, To contact the editor responsible for this story:James Gibney at jgibney5@bloomberg.net, Mac Margolis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Latin and South America. “Our generation did not have spaces for these kinds of open discussions,” he said. In recent weeks, Chileans have been coming together to discuss the crisis, problems and potential solutions in “cabildos” – grassroots assemblies and discussion groups. Even if overall Chilean fortunes have soared, many Chileans have languished. Around the country, police have used tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and metal pellets on protesters. Two other regional courts ordered investigations into police use of projectiles against demonstrators. Chile is a World Bank high-income economy with high living standards. “The initial plebiscite is put off for five more months in order to cool down the social upheaval and have time for campaigns of terror,” Modatima wrote in a statement Friday. There’s never a good time to do it, but it’s occasionally unavoidable. Chile’s pandemic-battered credit-rating, recently downgraded to A-minus, is still the envy of Latin America. Dreamed up as an incentive to enterprise, this arrangement is now accused of winking at the capture of public institutions by private interest. A Chile Referendum To Reform Pinochet-Era Constitution : NPR. Among the 411 chapters of Bolivia’s 2009 constitution is one giving voters the right to elect top court judges, a world first. EVs Are the Future. Whether woke Chileans will go for anything less than a total reset is a tougher call. It would then require ratification in a nationwide referendum. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners. Chile to tear up Pinochet-era constitution after landmark referendum New charter to replace guiding principles imposed four decades ago under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet The announcement was hailed as a … Meanwhile, protests continue, and will hit the month mark next week. We need clearer information on how the virus works so that we can avoid it. Chile: Protesters reject government plan to rewrite constitution A plebiscite next year could lead to a constitutional assembly. This sounds reasonable. On the last Sunday in October, in a plebiscite postponed by the pandemic, Chileans voted overwhelmingly to redraft the country’s constitution and to elect a … Chile’s constitutional referendum last month was its most important vote since the country transitioned to democracy in 1989. The privately managed pension system that protestors pilloried as a totem of avarice and exclusion represented assets worth 81% of gross domestic product in 2019. Sudan PM visits Ethiopia as Tigrayan refugees surpass 50,000, Chinese capsule with 2kg of moon rocks begins journey to Earth, Bomb and gun attacks in Afghan capital kill three, EU, UK agree to push Brexit trade talks beyond Sunday deadline, Germany to impose stricter COVID lockdown during holiday season, Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire breached, says Russian army, Trump election lawsuit ‘smacks of racism’, Wisconsin judge says, Al Jazeera Centre for Public Liberties & Human Rights. Ukraine president addresses nation after being taken to hospital with coronavirus He was a reporter for Newsweek and is the author of “The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.”, Photographer: Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images South America. Often held in plazas and parks, people of all ages organise neighbourhood discussion sessions, and union and social movements host thematic assemblies. But investors are right to worry that writing a new charter for Latin America’s fading star won’t be. In the immediate future, further discussion is a likely next step. That’s what makes investors so worried about what comes next.”. The regime ended in 1990 after a referendum in 1988 and was succeeded by a center-left coalition which ruled until 2010. Inflation is low, and government spending before the public health emergency was temperate. To the Chilean street, retaining the tyrant’s rulebook besmirches democracy. There have been jubilant scenes in Chile after an overwhelming majority voted in support of rewriting Chile's constitution, which dates to the military rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet. What’s harder to fathom is how to write all that exaltation into a workable compendium of laws that answers Chile’s aspirations and plays to its strengths as a Latin American economic exemplar. We need to expand solidarity coverage for the middle class and include informal workers, who have been left behind,” Fernando Larrain, director general of Chile’s privately run association of pension funds, told me. Writing a new constitution is like going to the dentist. That’s a call for improving the system, not nationalizing it — an onerous move that some of Chile’s neighbors have embraced and others are trying to reverse.“The Chilean model is a unique way of conceiving the state and economy in Latin America, and that’s really what’s on the dock,” said economist Juan Nagel, who teaches at the Universidad de los Andes, in Santiago. ‘An End to the Chapter of Dictatorship’: Chileans Vote to Draft a New Constitution Voters overwhelmingly approved a bid to scrap the charter inherited from … The complete reversal of the government’s position on a potential constitutional assembly is seen by many as an important victory. The government decreed a state of emergency and deployed the military, but mass demonstrations and other actions against the country’s political and economic model grew. The 12-point agreement sketches out the basic steps, but many details have yet to be defined, and the fact that politicians control the agreement and how it will move forward is a key concern for many protesters. “All the structural inputs for a mass rejection of the status quo are there.”. One in five Chileans aged 60 and older live in poverty. A mother of six and guardian of another six nieces and nephews, Castillo does not trust politicians to understand or act in the interests of the population, and she was far from alone. “The people have risen up,” he told Al Jazeera. News Chile votes to replace Pinochet-era constitution: early referendum results. Castillo has been participating in protests since they began and she stands out in the crowd in Antofagasta. A read of the crowded streets, however, suggests these laurels are an optical illusion and the policies that wrought them are now in peril. Managing the aspirations — and the inevitable frustrations to follow — is a job for political leadership. “We want a new constitution for new laws,” she said. Part of the problem with Chile’s existing charter is pedigree: It was written in 1980, when Chile was under the boot of Augusto Pinochet (1973 – 1990), the region’s iconic military dictator. A plebiscite next year could lead to a constitutional assembly. Some of these charters — Venezuela is working on #27, and the Dominican Republic has drafted 32 of them — are so stuffed with liberties and entitlements they read like a democratic bucket list. As actions continue in the streets and work towards next April’s plebiscite gets going, protesters and social movements continue to demand an immediate halt to repression and justice for the killings and myriad of abuses that have taken place during the crisis. Chile has never held a constitutional assembly. “Whether politicians are right-wing or left-wing, it’s the same.”. The youth who sparked the movement for change in the first place will be excluded due to age from participating in votes and the convention. The student protests and ensuing police crackdown triggered nationwide mass protests over health, education, pension, wage, and other issues. She carried a large marionette she calls “Lulita Love”, a schoolgirl with a sign calling for just education. While requiring people to save for their own pensions was a bold idea, the system presupposed a society where steady work and good jobs were abundant, return on investment robust and the population grayed only gradually. Chileans poured into the country's main squares on Sunday night after voters gave a ringing endorsement to a plan to tear up the country's Pinochet-era constitution … Chile’s current constitution has undergone many reforms, but it was written in 1980 by a commission during the 17-year military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Hence, it was up to the markets to deliver services such as higher education, health, housing and pensions. The announcement was hailed as a victory by some and critiqued and rejected by others. The Chilean government has introduced a series of measures in recent weeks related to some of the multifold demands of social movements and protesters, but they have been widely rejected. Choosing to reject the drafting of a new constitution in this month’s referendum would likely add to this polarization, and wouldn’t fix the problems with Chile’s current governing document. “We have been silent for so many years,” Luz Castillo, a longtime social movement activist, told Al Jazeera. But the government’s plan was for the work to be done in Congress, and was widely rejected. Here are five things to know the continued unrest and the referendum planned for next year: In mid-October, secondary school students and other young people protested against a subway fare hike in Santiago. A constitutional assembly has been an important collective goal, but so are demands related to pensions, wages, health and education, and many of them are much more immediate. Basically, the vote was a central demand of mass protests over inequality in late 2019. The country’s moneyed classes may think of their sky-scrapered capital as Sanhattan, but they are surrounded by less sightly boroughs. If anyone wondered what became of the fury that shook Latin America’s pre-pandemic streets, Chileans have an answer. On October 18, they engaged in mass fare evasion actions, shutting down subway stations. Chile’s referendum result is a cry for progressive change, but the struggle to translate mass social mobilisation into the drafting of a new constitution remains. For Modatima, the Water, Land and Environmental Defence Movement, among many other objections, the timeline itself is also cause for concern. In some cases, members of military and police forces have been arrested for abuses, including homicide. But the tradition of temperance that set Chileans apart from their  continental coevals has weakened. In a referendum on Sunday, 78 percent of voters backed constitutional overhaul, a stinging rebuke of the constitution dating from the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. “If Chileans go the same way, they could be forced to later undo a lot of unaffordable guarantees just in order to govern.”. “A constitutional assembly could establish a constitution that guarantees human rights, which do not exist today,” she said. Cue the fireworks and national anthem. On Oct. 25, in a popular referendum, the rest of … English Exceptionalism Is a Big Brexit Hurdle, Irrational Exuberance Hits the Oil Market, The Vaccines That Could Use a Shot in the Arm, capture of public institutions by private interest, 29% of laborers still draw their livelihoods from the parlous informal economy. Should the process move forward, citizen elections to the convention would take place in October 2020, alongside local and regional elections. Sunday’s victory in Chile did not come easily or swiftly. More than 14.8 million Chileans are eligible to vote Sunday and several polls show that at least 70% favor drafting a new constitution. More people went to the polls (51% of the electorate) than in the second round of the 2017 presidential elections. More than 80 percent of Chileans are in favour of a new constitution, according to recent polls. Decisions about education, health, pensions, children’s rights, and more should come from the population, including people living in poverty and others most impacted by policies, said Castillo. “This is a struggle for all of us.”. 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