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LATIN AMERICA | 13-12-2022 09:08

Chilean Congress agrees to restart Constitution rewrite process

Council's members to draft new constitution will be elected in a mandatory vote in April 2023, and must be equal numbers of men and women.

Chile's Congress signed an agreement Monday to start a fresh round of drafting a new Constitution, three months after voters rejected a first proposal in a referendum. 

The legislature reached a multiparty agreement "from the conviction that it is essential to enable a constituent process and have a new Constitution for Chile," according to the text entitled "Agreement for Chile" that was presented late Monday by the heads of the Senate and the lower house.

It will feature a "Constitutional Council made up of 50 people whose sole purpose will be to discuss and approve a proposed text for a new Constitution," the agreement said. 

The council's members will be elected in a mandatory vote in April 2023, and must be equal numbers of men and women. Unlike the previous council, there will be no quota of seats reserved for indigenous peoples.

An expert commission will also be formed, its 24 members to be chosen by Congress on behalf of the different pro-government and opposition groups.

The Constitutional Council will begin its work on May 21 next year and must deliver the draft Constitution by October 21. A mandatory referendum will then be held on November 26.

The far-right Republican Party and the centre-right People's Party did not participate in the new constitutional pact, which was launched after the September referendum on the previous draft was rejected by 62 percent of voters.

A Constitutional Convention made up of 154 members worked on that first draft for one year, starting on July 4, 2021.

The goal of the process is to replace the Constitution inherited from the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990).

 

 

– TIMES/AFP

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