Chileans will decide whether to accept or reject the constitution in a nationwide plebiscite on September 4th.
“I know, and all Chile is aware, that it was not easy. And the fact is, dear compatriots, that democracy is not easy,” said Boric, having received a copy of the draft document.
“Regardless of the legitimate differences that may exist regarding the content of the text that will be discussed in the coming months, all Chileans should be proud that, at a time of the deepest political, institutional and social crisis that our homeland has experienced for decades, the Chileans have chosen more democracy, and nothing less,” he said.
The proposed constitution marks a departure from the country’s existing constitution, which was influenced by the neoliberal model of University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman. Despite many amendments, most Chileans blame him for the country’s stark inequality.
The proposed new constitution emphasizes social and environmental factors, enshrines the rights of Chile’s indigenous peoples, and provides for a new national health care system.
The process of potentially replacing the constitution, inherited from the late General Augusto Pinochet, the dictator who ruled the country from 1973 to 1990, was prompted by an increase in metro fares three years ago.
Massive protests and riots across the country in the fall of 2019 forced then-president Sebastian Piñer to agree to a referendum to rewrite the constitution.
In October 2020, over 78% of Chilean voters approved the constitutional changes, and in June 2021 they voted again to elect the members of the constituent assembly.
The center-left and right-wing coalitions, which have shared power since the return to democracy in 1990, have both taken a hard hit, winning only 16% and 24% of the seats in the assembly, respectively.
Independents and newcomers from the left political parties and social movements, on the contrary, survived their finest hour, gaining 60% of the vote.
The country is now preparing to vote on their constitution, which could bring about widespread change in Chilean society.