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Chile to begin drafting new constitution


Chile to begin drafting new constitution

Chile to begin writing new constitution
Photo: AFP/Chilean Presidency

Chile’s Constitutional Convention will begin drafting the country’s new constitution today.

Today’s first session will convene 155 delegates from across Chile composed equally of men and women—a world first—with 17 seats reserved for indigenous peoples. Chile’s current constitution has been in place since the Pinochet era, but calls for its replacement rose during widespread protests in 2019 which resulted in a 2020 referendum approving the change.

Expect today’s session to focus less on drafting  and more on laying the foundation for future sessions. Under the terms of the referendum, a president and vice president of the Convention must be elected before the process of drafting a new constitution can begin in earnest. As such, initial sessions will likely focus on determining potential candidates for these leadership roles.

Once these figures are chosen, expect debate to begin on which issues should take precedence. Early reports indicate that water rights are likely to take center-stage in these discussions. Under the current constitution, water rights-holders hold ownership of the resource. A recent survey, however, shows that 64 of the delegates support scrapping this provision. As a two-thirds majority is needed to pass new amendments, expect this group to block private water ownership.

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