A story in English with details you’ll only find on Fake Flamenco!
Chileans voted in October 2020 to form a Constitutional Congress and write a new constitution, as you read here. The deadline for potential representatives to declare candidacy was Monday, January 11. An astounding 3,399 people answered the call; including both independents and political party candidates, and at least 180 indigenous candidates. The Chilean Election Service is reviewing the applications, will notify the candidates within ten days, and publish a list by 23 January. On April 11, 14 million Chileans are scheduled to vote to narrow the number of candidates down from over 3000 to 155. That sounds like a difficult task to accomplish, without primaries.
The Chilean Congress determined that half the representatives for the Constitutional Congress would be women and half of them men. (77 1/2 each?) They also voted in December 2020 that at least 17 positions are reserved for members of indigenous nations, who are 12.8% of the population. The division is as follows: seven Mapuche representatives, two Aymara, one each for Rapanuí, Quechua, Atacameños, Diaguitas, Collas, Kawéskar, Yaganes and Changos. However, no places were reserved for Chileans of African descent. According to the available information, Afro-Chileans are 3-6% of the population, which would accord them at least 4-5 representatives of the 155. But Congress did not recognize them.
The members of the Constitutional Congress will begin work on the historic document one to three months after their election. They will meet in an official location called the Palacio Pereira. I remember the building well, not for its beauty, but as a sad ruin. When we lived in Chile, every weekend I would take the bus to visit writer friends. The bus would pass the empty Palacio that looked abandoned and I would wonder why such a beautiful façade held nothing inside. The building was an apt metaphor for Chilean democracy. No more, both are in restoration.
The Constitutional Congress will have 9 months, with a possible 3 month extension to write the new constitution and get it ratified by 2/3 of the representatives. In 2022, Chileans will vote whether or not they approve of their new Magna Carta. That will be a momentous day!
As Soledad Buendía Herdoíza, Assembly Member for the Provence of Pichincha in the National Assembly of Ecuador said in her article about Chile:
“El nuevo camino democrático que inicia Chile es un gran reto y una gran oportunidad para la construcción de una sociedad más justa, equitativa, igualitaria, inclusiva y libre de violencia.”
“The new democratic path that Chile begins is a great challenge and a great opportunity to build a society that is more just, equitable, egalitarian, inclusive and free of violence.” (my translation -RC)
This tremendous progress for human rights in the form of a new constitution has bolstered my hope for Chile, and hope for democracy.
Which ideas and ideals are the most important to include in a democratic constitution, in your opinion? Please join the dialogue in the comments below.
¡Viva Chile! ¡Olé! –Rebecca