The Daily Telegraph

Chile rejects new constituti­on as ‘too Left’

- By Josie Ensor

CHILEANS overwhelmi­ngly rejected a radically progressiv­e new constituti­on to replace its Pinochet-era charter that aimed to transform the country into a more egalitaria­n society.

The constituti­on – described as the world’s most progressiv­e – guaranteed public healthcare, higher education, legal advice, housing and internet, as well as legalising abortion, prioritisi­ng the environmen­t and ensuring gender parity. But the plans faced intense criticism that the final document was too long, too Left-leaning and too radical.

There was strong support to ditch the current constituti­on written under the dictatorsh­ip of Augusto Pinochet, who ruled Chile with an iron fist from 1973 to 1990. Massive protests, often descending into street battles with police, that began in 2019 led to leaders promising to overhaul the constituti­on.

But the proposal proved too controvers­ial for the general public. The new charter sought to enshrine Indigenous rights for the first time in the South American country’s history, which many Chileans feared would end the principle of equality. Critics feared it would give rights to such groups that other people would not have, such as running their own justice system and being able to veto projects, laws and other initiative­s.

With almost all of the ballots counted, 62 per cent rejected the proposal with 38 per cent voting in favour, according to the Chile Electoral Service.

The document was rejected in all of Chile’s provinces, including the capital Santiago. The result is a setback for President Gabriel Boric who wants a new proposal “that unites” Chileans.

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