News Latin America The referendum in Chile divides the country two weeks before its celebration

The referendum in Chile divides the country two weeks before its celebration

Two weeks before the plebiscite for a new Constitution in Chile, in the South American country there are two consensuses about what will happen on September 4 and the day after. In the first place, that the constituent process will continue. Although the convention proposal is approved, Gabriel Boric’s ruling party has already reported the commitments to reform the text. If the option of those who reject wins, meanwhile, a good part of the right —with the exception of the Republican Party of Jose Antonio Kast— has opened itself to a battery of modifications to the current Fundamental Charter of 1980, which was drafted during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, although reformed in democracy. There is also agreement on a second aspect: the result of the referendum would not be as broad. If in October 2020, 78% were about to change the current Constitution, the convention’s proposal now divides the citizenry.

The distance between both options of the plebiscite would be about 10 points in favor of those who will reject the proposal of the Chilean convention, according to the surveys. Two weeks before the referendum there is already a ban on publishing new opinion polls, but the last known ones show 37% for the Approve option and 47% for Rejection (UDD Citizen Panel), 42% for Approval and 58% for the Rejection (Black&White), 37% for Approval and 46% for Rejection (Cadem) and 32.9% for Approval and 45.8% for Rejection (Pulso Ciudadano). According to center-left electoral expert Pepe Auth, who reported his projections a few days ago, Rejection would remain at 53.6% and Approval at 46.4%. It is a difference that seems adjusted, but that, in his calculations, does not leave much room for the board to turn. In a compulsory voting scenario, Auth projects the participation of 9.2 million people, that is, 14% more than the vote in the second presidential round last December.

Unlike what happened in the entry plebiscite in 2020, this referendum would leave half the country unsatisfied. Boric’s government, which has not yet been in power for six months and has been deployed for the option of approving the proposal, seems aware of this scenario of division. “I am going to play it for a Chile that unites for a new Constitution, wins the Approval or the Rejection,” said the president this Saturday. Along the same lines, one of the main voices of the Approval, the center-leftist Carolina Toha, in an interview this weekend analyzes that “the path that comes forward has to pick up the defeated on the night of September 4.”

The campaigns of both sectors are in full swing and in the Chilean public debate practically nothing is discussed other than the plebiscite. But since politics has begun to open paths for reforms after the plebiscite – it seems a fact that the constituent discussion will continue after September 4 – the result is expected with less drama than a few months ago.

This Saturday, Minister Giorgio Jackson, from Boric’s first ring, referred to the steps that will be followed in the event that the proposal for a new Constitution is rejected. “We will have to agree on a formula with the National Congress, but there are less and less doubts in a transversal way that this has to be a call for a new process,” said Jackson, referring to the fact that it will be the Parliament that must agree the rules of the continuation of the constitutional process. In any case, said the minister, “they have to be dedicated and elected people to be able to draft a new proposal in the event that the Rejection comes out.” On the event that the text of the constitutional convention is approved, Minister Jackson assured that they will work from the Executive “for the implementation, adjustments and modifications that have to be made.”

Boric decided to bet on the approval of the new Constitution. It was a risky move, although inevitable, because if the text is rejected, the Government is left in a complex political situation and must continue to govern for more than three years. With ministers in a complicated situation, such as Jackson himself or the Minister of the Interior, Izkia Siches, it seems clear that the president would make his first cabinet change shortly, although very possibly after the plebiscite. If materialized, it would be the defeat of a fundamental bet of the president: install his fellow travelers and generation in the first ring of power in La Moneda.

Source: EL PAIS

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