Chile drafts a new Constitution
12th Jan, 2022
The Chilean assembly has elected a new assembly for drafting a new constitution.
- Old Chile’s constitution is widely unpopular and considered as a source of social inequality.
The new constitution is expected to bring in major changes for Chile; with activists expecting that it will bring new protections for bringing in social equality and Indigenous leaders expecting that it will help establish a new relationship between their communities and the state.
- Chile, since its transition to democracy in 1990, has amended the Constitution to take out many of its anti-democratic features in the constitution which enshrined the practices of conservative free market philosophies.
- This has allowed the private sector to grow and helped the economy expand.
- But it also led to the concentration of wealth in a minuscule minority, which led to social inequality.
- This lead to a mass protest in 2019 for reframing of the constitution
- So, the conservative President, Sebastian Pinera, agreed to hold a referendum on rewriting the country’s Constitution.
- Now, 78% of Chileans voted in favour of replacing the charter with a new document.
- The Chilean assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution in the South American nation has now elected a new president Maria Elisa Quinteros.
How did the demand rise?
- The initial protests erupted over the issue of small rise in metro fares which soon turned into a mass protest leading to public agitation and demanding reforms such as
- An abolition of the private pension fund system
- Increase the investments in education, healthcare etc.
- Strengthening of the rights of the indigenous communities.
- This protest led to demand of reframing the constitution which led to plebiscite and majority voted for constitution reframing
- This led to a constitution of 155 drafting members and now they have elected Maria Elisa Quinteros as the new president.
- Half the delegates are women in the assembly
- The 155-member Assembly to draft the new document will put the document for plebiscite in 2022.
- Despite the political and procedural challenges, it offers a fresh opportunity for Chile to say goodbye to a dark era.
What will a new charter mean for Chile?
- Through a democratic process, Chileans can bury the old document and introduce a modern democratic charter which can provide a better way for the development of their country.
- It will also pave way for a more inclusive economic and social system that works well for all people for socio-economic development.
- This will give them a new hope for development
Assess the pros and cons of having a Constitution?
- The Constitution is supreme
- It avoids dictatorship by rulers
- It reduces clash of functions of the arms of government
- The Judiciary has more power in order to ensure constitutional supremacy
- Constitution is majorly flexible, though there can be instances where even the written Constitution is rigid
- Constitutions is properly framed and compiled in a step by step manner which idealize the goals of the country
- It is difficult to amend, as it takes time.
- It may not favor every part of the state
- It may encourage frequent litigation, as people can easily know when their rights have been breached
- Delay in government activities
- Sometimes it does not allow for flexibility
The constitution should be framed in such a way that it idealizes the goals of the Chileans and recognizes various rights of individuals which give a prompt space for the development of individuals, thus the country.
Though various political overreach could take Chile on the path to political radicalism. & lead to turn away business investment and shatter Chile’s reputation as business-friendly. Chile is now set for its biggest political change since the transition, the new constitution can pave the way to get rid of authoritarian regimes and socio-economic inequality.