Better News for Chile’s Investors
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The Republican Party of the “centre-right” has emerged victorious in the election to determine the members of the body responsible for drafting Chile’s new constitution. The Republican Party secured 22 of the 51 seats, with right-wing parties obtaining the remaining 11 seats. This constitutional assembly is to create a new constitution to supersede the one instituted during the military rule of General Augusto Pinochet. Last year, a referendum rejected a draft proposed by a previous assembly. This proposal, which had the support of the left-wing President Gabriel Boric, encompassed numerous changes to the country’s institutions, such as the replacement of the Senate with a Chamber of Regions, as well as the recognition of the rights of Chile’s indigenous population – which comprises approximately 13% of the population – to their lands and resources. Furthermore, it included improved social benefits and environmental rights, and had it been ratified, it would have become one of the world’s most progressive constitutions.
In September 2022, 62% of voters rejected the proposal, thus leading to the election of a new assembly on Sunday. 50 seats were up for grabs, with an additional seat reserved for Chile’s indigenous population representative. The Republican Party, led by José Antonio Kast, obtained over 35% of the votes and secured 22 seats. The conservative Chile Seguro (Safe Chile) coalition earned 21% of the votes and 11 representatives. The left-wing Unidad para Chile (Unity for Chile) won 17 seats, insufficiently granting it veto power.
José Antonio Kast declared that his party’s victory is a sign that “the ideas of common sense have triumphed”. Mr Kast, who lost to Gabriel Boric in the 2021 presidential election, is seen as the primary beneficiary of Sunday’s poll. His party has opposed any alteration of the current Pinochet-era constitution. Analysts have suggested that the new body will now face a difficult task in reconciling the ideas of its conservative majority with the demand for change, which initiated the process in the first place. This drive for a new constitution began in 2019 following mass protests in Chile, which caused considerable disruption in the country, which is usually regarded as a bastion of stability in the region.
The new constitution will commence its work in June and has been allocated five months to devise a new constitution based on a blueprint drafted by experts. The resulting text will be put to voters in a referendum to be held in December.
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