Chile: One step to a historic decision
By Rafael Calcines
Santiago de Chile, Oct 17 (Prensa Latina) On October 25, around 14.8 million people are summoned to the polls in Chile, to decide in a historic plebiscite for a new Constitution or to maintain the current one, imposed in 1980 by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
The general conviction is that it is not a matter of simply changing one fundamental law for another or reforming the current one. That will only be the first step in a lengthy process.
With that vote, they will decide whether to establish a constitution that expresses the wishes of millions of Chileans who —on October 18 precisely a year ago— took to the streets in unprecedented protests demanding changes in all orders, including dismantling the neoliberal model, shielded by the reigning fundamental law.
In exclusive statements for Prensa Latina, the jurist and politician Eduardo Contreras remembered that the call for this plebiscite was created on November 15, 2019.
'The Agreement for Peace and a new Constitution between the right wing and the center parties that formed the 'Concertación' was the response by part of the political class to the popular mobilization of a year ago. For Contreras 'it is positive that a procedure be initiated to put an end to the current Constitution'.
However, he points out as 'a negative factor the fact that -assuming the approval and the option of a Constituent Convention win (as a mechanism to draft the Magna Carta)- nothing ensures that a sufficient number of capable constituents will be elected to reach two-thirds of the total, so as to guarantee the approval of a new form of political organization of Chilean society'.
In the opinion of the also member of the leadership of the Communist Party of Chile, the aim is to achieve, with the unity of the forces in favor of change, a majority strong enough to also decide on the subsequent process of electing constituent delegates, and to achieve 'a recovery that allows the State to regain ownership of the country's natural wealth and the main means of production'.
He concluded that 'if this is not achieved, it will be impossible for the State to guarantee education, health, housing, social security and culture to the Chilean people, as it is hoped for, and we will continue the same as today.'
Meanwhile, just one week before the voting tables open, it is taken for granted that the plebiscite will go ahead, that there will be a notable attendance -in a country marked by abstentionism- and that the Approval and the Convention option will be victorious.
This, despite the campaigns of the opponents to change, warning of the alleged dangers of contagion from Covid-19 by going to vote, in an evident attempt to stimulate low attendance.
But as this has been fading, they seek to question the results of the plebiscite, offering the image of a presumed climate of violence that they speak insistently these days right-wing politicians and the press, taking advantage of isolated actions of elements outside the vast Chilean social movement.
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