Boric says Chile should draft new constitution if current proposal fails
SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean President Gabriel Boric said on Friday that if a proposed new constitution is rejected in a referendum set for September, a new draft would have to be written up from scratch instead of modifying the current text.
In an interview with a local television channel, the leftist president said that since Chile’s citizens voted to draft a new constitution in 2020, the process would have to be carried out again if the current proposal.
“If the plan is rejected, what will happen is that we will have to prolong the process for another year and a half, where everything will have to be discussed from the beginning,” said Boric, who has avoided speaking of alternatives if voters reject the proposed text in September.
Boric has stated that both options – approving or rejecting the text – are legitimate, but his government seeks to promote broad social reforms that would be blocked by the current constitution.
“The constitutional process, if rejected, has to continue by the terms decided by the people of Chile,” Boric said. “Not (to continue tweaking) the current constitution.”
The current constitution, heavily pro-market, was enacted during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
Congress is currently debating lowering the number of votes needed to modify the current constitution in case the proposed text is rejected.
In October 2020, a year after protests broke out across the country, almost 80% of Chileans voted to draft a new constitution. Support has fallen since but voters continue to support change and or another alternative, polls show.
At the beginning of July, the constitutional assembly finished the proposed text that has 388 articles and focuses on social rights, gender, the political system and the environment.
(Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Sandra Maler)