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Chileans Reject Constitutional Reform by Carlos Perona Calvete

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Chileans Reject Constitutional Reform

As predicted by several polls, Chile has rejected the government’s proposed constitutional reform. Thirteen million Chileans, representing 85.5% of the electorate, voted in the September 4th referendum, with 62% deciding against the proposal. 

The reform would have vastly increased the powers of the executive, following the model laid out by Hugo Chavez when he came to power. It would also have enshrined certain ideological assumptions on gender and sexuality and the green energy transition, as well as supposedly catering to indigenous groups. Interestingly, areas with higher Mapuche native population, for example, voted at higher rates than the national average to reject the constitution. 

Because participation in this referendum was compulsory, a far higher, and therefore more representative, number of people voted than is typical in Chilean politics. We may compare it to the 55% of the electorate that voted in the elections that earned Gabriel Boric the presidency in the first place, back in December 2021. 

This referendum culminated a process that began with another plebiscite in 2020, when 80% of Chilean voters supported changing the constitution. It now seems that, whatever change the Chilean public had in mind, it is emphatically not that which was on the table on the 4th.

The results are a blow to the government going forward. Whereas Boric himself kept somewhat aloof from the campaign, several members of his cabinet did not follow suit. He has now said that he will be replacing some members of his government. All the same, Boric has said that he will be delivering on the promise of constitutional reform and come back to voters with a new draft in the future. 

Carlos Perona Calvete is a writer for The European Conservative. He has a background in International Relations and Organizational Behavior, has worked in the field of European project management, and is currently awaiting publication of a book in which he explores the metaphysics of political representation.