Chile will start drafting a new constitution next month Politics News:

President Pinera says the draft of a new constitution to replace the Pinochet-era charter will be launched on July 4.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has announced that the new constitutional assembly will hold its first session on July 4 as the South American country moves to replace its conservative, dictatorial-era charter.

The rewriting of the Constitution is the result of a broad political consensus reached in the wake of widespread social inequality in late 2019.

“This convention is undoubtedly a great opportunity to reach a new constitution that will be recognized and respected by all Chileans within the framework of unity and stability for the future of our democracy,” Pinera said on Sunday.

In nine months, the 155-member body will have to balance the popular noise of profound social change with the need to maintain a strong economy as it rewrites the old constitution, which dates back to the reign of Augusto Pinochet.

Their term may be extended by three months, and the body will need a two-thirds majority to approve a draft referendum next year, in which voting will be mandatory.

In 2019, there were widespread protests in Chile over inequality [File: Claudio Reyes/AFP]

The current constitution of Chile, which came into force in 1980 at the height of Pinochet’s rule in 1973-1990, restricts the role of the state in promoting private enterprise.

Many blame it on the deep-rooted abyss between the rich and the poor, but others, mostly on the right, hail the country’s decades-long economic growth.

Electing the body that drafted the new charter, voters turned their backs on traditional political parties in May, gathering independent candidates with no party affiliation but mostly leftist or socialist ideas.

Many of the independent candidates – teachers, writers, journalists, lawyers, activists – were involved or inspired by the 2019 uprisings, campaigning for promises of social change.

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