Issued on: 06/04/2022 – 01:58
Chileans will vote in a mandatory referendum on September 4 to approve or reject a new constitution to replace the one enacted in 1980 by the regime of dictator Augusto Pinochet, the government said Tuesday.
The country, which elected a leftist president in December after a polarising race, is going through profound change since an anti-inequality social uprising in 2019 that left dozens dead, rocking the economy and political establishment.
Those protests had the backing of former student leader Gabriel Boric, elected president over a far-right candidate on promises of installing a “welfare state.”
He also vowed to undo Chile‘s constitutionally protected neo-liberal economic model, which is credited with the country’s relative wealth but blamed for its deep-rooted social inequality.
The 2019 protests led to a referendum in 2020 in which Chileans voted overwhelmingly in favour or changing the constitution.
This led to elections in May 2021 for 155 members of the Constitutional Convention tasked with drafting a new founding law for the South American country.
The largely left-leaning elected body started work on the text in July last year.
On Tuesday, Boric‘s government said Chileans will vote on the new constitution on September 4.
The date is symbolic in Chile: it was the traditional date for presidential elections until the coup d’etat that ousted socialist leader Salvador Allende in 1973 and introduced nearly two decades of brutal dictatorship.
Some 15 million eligible voters will have two months to weigh the proposed text before making their mark in September, the government said.