Chileans vote en masse for new constitution

Chile will almost certainly get a new constitution. The Chileans were able to vote in a referendum yesterday in favor of maintaining the current constitution from the days of the military dictatorship, or drafting a new constitution. According to preliminary results, more than 78 percent voted in favor of a new constitution.

President Piñera spoke in an initial response of a victory for democracy and unity. After the first results were announced, party broke out on the Plaza Italia in the capital, Santiago.

Social inequality

Changing the constitution was one of the demands of the Chilean protest movement a year ago. The new constitution should reduce social inequality in the South American country and, among other things, make education and health care more accessible.

The current constitution dates from 1980 and was drawn up under dictator Augusto Pinochet. Under his rule (1973-1990), political opponents were persecuted, tortured and murdered.

The referendum was also about the question of who should draft the new constitution: about 80 percent want to elect a special council of citizens. A variant in which parliamentarians also co-write received only 20 percent of the vote.

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