In Chile, they are developing a new constitution; they have used citizen’s assemblies to develop the constitution. They will vote on it later this year. Here is a guide on the draft, in Spanish and in English, by Google translate. I know! Legal documents shouldn’t be translated.

The guide includes, from I think Article 1 of the constitution,

The protection and guarantee of individual and collective human rights are the foundation of the State and guide all its activity . It is the duty of the State to generate the necessary conditions and provide the goods and services to ensure the equal enjoyment of rights and the integration of people in political, economic, social and cultural life for their full development.

I finally found the draft, as delivered by the constituent assembly, entitled draft constitutional proposals in Spanish or English and dated 14/5/2022, I think it needs to through a Harmonisation Committee before an adoption process. I found this document at Chile: the first draft of the new constitution is ready by Pressenza.

They propose a lower house, chamber of deputies of 155, ∛ rule (cube root rule) suggests a much bigger chamber, and while I need to read more, the chamber of regions may end up replicating the worst of the US Senate.

I also found a commentary entitled, A new Constitution for Chile: The proposed draft enters its final review process. They say, it establishes a Presidential regime with a bicameral parliament, establishes the principle of cultural and geographic autonomy, abolishes subsidiarity and mandates the State to provide certain services as a right, establishes gender parity within the State and its Quangos, a state duty to protect the environment, and own the mineral and water resources of the nation, and incorporates an array of additional fundamental rights, to be guaranteed by the State (i.e. access to water, housing, decent employment, amongst others). It seems a good effort.

The Economist says,

I also found this article in the Economist, urging a No vote, it seems they are quite proud of it. Typical of the Economist, it seems you can’t have a constitution that guarantees nice things for the poor. It’s on par with the stupidity of prohibiting borrowing in a constitution; people have short memories, the US Constitution was written to allow the Federal Govt to service its war debts. It also reminds me of their advice to the people of Argentina after the fall of the military dictatorship, who had ‘disappeared’ 10,000s of people, that they needed a strong property law.

It also reminds me of debates in the United Nations in the seventies, about whether the right to housing, or education were rights on par with the right to a fair trial,  the right to liberty and the right to freedom of expression. The effective result was that they were not considered rights; it seems the Chilean people disagree. The Economist seems particularly incensed by having a constitution that guarantees the proper treatment of nature failing to recognise that both Germany and France have such clauses.

I am not sure if the Economist objects to the new constitution because it mandates high spending or because it threatens the communal ownership of the country’s natural resources. This maybe the first social democratic constitution in the world.

On blogs.lse

This article, “What can Latin America’s new generation of left governments learn from pink tide experiences of coproduction?” which talks about the movements behind the Latin left rather than focus on Chile and its new constitution.

What didn’t make it!

It’s hard to follow, or I haven’t put enough effort into it. A constituent assembly with at least part of it chosen by lot, made proposals. These were amended by some aspect of the representational democratic state and the amended proposals put to the people in a mandatory referendum. The COA article, makes the point that the referendum’s Rechazo campaign, campaigned against what was lost and not what remained. For those of us who forget, the constitutional review was put in place after much popular pressure including riots. The most radical elements of the proposal such as a right to housing and the national expropriation of mining rights were not put in the final document. The forces of reaction have won by getting a nation of poor people to not demand, a living income, national health service and national eduction service.

2 Replies

  1. The people of Chile rejected the constitution. See this story on Al Jezeera.

    I believe that the Chilean Congress removed the proposals around mineral and water rights.

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