Chile: The challenges of Gabriel Boric after rejection of the Plebiscite – Latin America – International

After the resounding rejection that the Chileans they made the new one at the polls Constitutionthe president of that nation, Gabriel Boricbegan this Monday the search for a process to reform the Magna Carta which has been in force since the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

(Read here: Chile: what comes after the majority rejection of the new Constitution?)

The vote, counted 99.99% of the tables, indicated that 61.86 percent of the nearly 13 million citizens who voted decided to ‘Reject’ the document compared to 38.14% who did approve it.

(See also: Analysis: Is Gabriel Boric a mirror for Gustavo Petro?)

The results became a challenge for the young government of Boricwho took office less than six months ago, and who, after assuming a leading role in favor of the project, promised to carry out a new constituent process, a path that could take up a large part of his administration.

According to political analyst and professor at the State University of O’Higgins, Juan Pablo Araya, the result harms the president and his government. “It is a strong blow for the first year of the Boric Government, who decided to bet his political capital on ‘Apruebo’”, says Araya. “It will be very complex to implement the government program and maintain unity and stability in the government coalition,” he adds.

And it is that from now on it is foreseen that the Chamber of Deputies, strongly fragmented, and the Senate, in which the right-wing opposition dominates, will assume the leading role in the continuity of the constitutional process in Chile.

With a government coalition in crisis that forces the Executive to undertake a difficult remodeling. Furthermore, since Boric does not have majorities, must build bridges with other political movements and invest its political capital seeking these alliances.

What was left in evidence in the meeting that the president held yesterday at the Palacio de La Moneda (seat of government) with the president of the Senate, the socialist Álvaro Elizalde; and the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Raúl Soto, a member of the Party for Democracy (PPD).

Gabriel Boric

Gabriel Boric, President of Chile.

The meeting took place after Boric summoned all political forces to La Moneda to find a way to get a new Constitution forward. However, despite the fact that all the movements were mentioned, no right-wing opposition party confirmed attendance and the Presidency reported that the meeting was only held with the ruling coalition and representatives of Congress.

The president “has asked us to develop a dialogue in the National Congress that allows establishing an institutional path to advance in the constituent process,” revealed Elizalde at the end of the meeting.

“In this context, together with the president of the Chamber (of Deputies) we will convene this week all the political parties with parliamentary representation, the benches, and we will also listen to other social movements,” he explained.

The socialist insisted that this dialogue must be “transversal and inclusive”, affirmed that “the Government will participate” and expressed his desire that the institutional itinerary be clear before September 11, the 49th anniversary of the coup d’état that overthrew the democratic executive Salvador Allende.

Neither Elizalde nor Soto wanted to reveal what path the government will take from now on. The truth is that there are two possible scenarios: the first, to determine whether a new convention elected in a plebiscite by the citizens will be created, like the one that wrote the rejected text. The second, opt for a mixed one, which includes experts and deputies, as some parties propose.

Plebiscite in Chile

Promoters of the ‘Rejection’ of the constitutional plebiscite met to await the results.


Elvis Gonzalez. EFE

It is a strong blow for the first year of the Boric Government.
It will be complex to maintain unity and stability in the government coalition

What is clear is that the president is preparing a first change in his cabinet. Decision that he, apparently, he planned for several weeks because of “mistakes” of some of his ministers, but that he precipitated after the result on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the big question is what the Chilean right will do, triumphant after broadly supporting the ‘Rejection’. Yesterday, in fact, there was tension between a moderate sector that is open to following the constituent process, and a more extreme one that rejects carrying out social reforms.

Some right-wing parties reaffirmed their intention to support the reforms they promised during the electoral campaign. But another, led by the Republican Party of the former presidential candidate Jose Antonio Kastcelebrated having “defeated a constitutional proposal that did great harm to all Chileans.”

“The resounding victory of the ‘Rejection’ is explained by the fear of a large majority that the new Constitution would annul the political opposition, in addition to the lack of gradualness in the implementation of the measures that were proposed,” he explained to AFP. analyst Marcelo Mella, from the University of Santiago.

But perhaps the most controversial point was the definition of Chile as a multinational state. The draft that was written recognized the rights of indigenous peoples and the autonomy of indigenous justice, but without defining clear limits on those rights in relation to those of the rest of Chileans.

In this regard, Jorge Correa, former member of the constitutional Court Chilean, said that the text written by the Constituent Assembly needed to define how far the autonomy of indigenous justice and of the original peoples in Chile could go.

*With Afp and Efe

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