Sep 5, 2022 - World

Chile rejects draft constitution in blow to leftist President Boric

Dozens of people participate in a demonstration in Plaza Italia in rejection of the next constitutional plebiscite, in Santiago, Chile on Aug. 20.
Dozens of people participate in a demonstration in Plaza Italia in rejection of the constitutional plebiscite in Santiago, Chile, on Aug. 20. Photo: Lucas Aguayo Araos/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Voters in Chile on Sunday rejected a progressive constitution that would have drastically changed the country.

Why it matters: It's a major blow to leftist President Gabriel Boric and his supporters who championed the draft text, which would have enshrined reproductive, education, housing and Indigenous rights.

  • It would have also required the country set up a national health care system, and made addressing climate change a constitutional state duty.
  • The draft text would have replaced the current constitution, which dates to 1980, when dictator Augusto Pinochet was in power.

The big picture: Holding a vote on a new constitution garnered widespread support two years ago, but since its drafting, that support dwindled amid what experts say was an abundance of misinformation, frustration over the process and uncertainty surrounding what was actually included in the proposed document.

  • Official figures show that with 99.99% of votes counted on Sunday evening, 61.86% of voters rejected the change.
  • Participation was mandatory.

What to watch: It's unclear what's next, though Boric has said the 2020 referendum on calling for a new constitution will stand, meaning a new drafting process could be started.

  • Some opposition members in Congress, however, have suggested that lawmakers could just make amendments to the current Constitution instead.
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