Despite the pandemic and the consequent postponement of this event, which should have taken place last April, today in Chile it was possible to go to the polls, respecting the health measures to prevent coronavirus infections as much as possible, with a notable display of civic organisation and also with great excitement, in order to vote in a plebiscite on whether to approve or reject the plan to change the Constitution, as well as through which body such change should happen, whether a Constitutional Convention or a Mixed Commission.
The results we have at 11 p.m. today show the following:
Total votes counted: 93.77%.
Constitutional Convention: 79.22% Joint Committee: 20.78%
Therefore, it is now possible to consider the “I approve” option as the winner and to establish the mechanism of a Constitutional Convention to draft the new Constitution.
In April 2021, Chile will again go to the polls to elect those who will draft the new text. Unfortunately, this will not be done by a Constituent and Sovereign Assembly, but rather by those who have been nominated by the political parties in the different electoral districts and who meet the requirements established by the National Agreement. So far there is an insistence on facilitating the participation of independents, something which Parliament has not wanted to agree to. In our view, this is a trap that limit full participation. Furthermore, until now there are no seats reserved for the indigenous peoples, and it is necessary to approve the articles by two thirds – and not by a simple majority.
The process will be completed with a final vote in which a plebiscite will be held on whether or not the final text drawn up is approved. Between now and then, there is a long way to go. Today’s victory is only the first step. Being very aware of this, Chileans also went out en masse to celebrate from 8 p.m. onwards, pouring into the squares and streets of all the big cities, in a party that, especially in Plaza Dignidad, was overflowing with joy, with musicians and bands, fireworks and lights that projected the word ” Rebirth ” onto the tallest building. There are thousands of people in the streets to leave behind Pinochet’s Constitution: “erasing your legacy will be our legacy”, they say. They spread canvases with the words “Goodbye General” and they sing “Chile woke up, Chile woke up, Chile woke up”.
Photos and videos: Claudia Aranda
Translation by Lulith V., from the voluntary Pressenza translation team. We are looking for volunteers!