Chile: Conservatives to Draw up Fresh Constitution After Romping Assembly Elections

AP Photo/Matias Basualdo

Chile’s most prominent right-wing party has romped an election on Sunday night aimed at selecting members for the constitutional assembly responsible for drafting the country’s new constitution.


The assembly was tasked with creating a new constitution to replace the one that was implemented during the military rule of General Augusto Pinochet which many credited for making Chile the most prosperous country in the region.

A draft by a predominantly left-wing assembly was overwhelmingly rejected in a national referendum. The draft had proposed numerous changes, including replacing the Senate with a Chamber of Regions and recognizing Chile as a “plurinational state,” granting indigenous groups additional rights and guarantees.

It also guaranteed several social benefits and environmental standards, making it one of the most progressive constitutions worldwide. However, the proposal was turned down by 62 percent of voters in September 2022, prompting the latest election.

The Republican Party, led by conservative firebrand José Antonio Kast, emerged victorious with 22 seats after winning over 35 percent of the votes. The conservative Chile Seguro coalition won 11 seats, while the left-wing Unidad para Chile won 17 seats. “Common sense ideas have triumphed,” Kast told cheering crowds as the results came in. “Today Chile has also defeated a failed government.”


The assembly will now face the challenging task of reconciling the conservative majority’s ideas with the demand for change that sparked the process. Starting from June, the newly appointed constitutional councilors will have a four-month window to deliberate, converse, and implement alterations to a new constitution.

A final decision from the voters on the redraft will be made via another vote in December. If Chileans reject the updated constitution, the country will retain its previous Pincohet-era constitution.

Investors responded positively to the news, with the peso rising 0.7 percent in early trading. José Antonio Kast’s party, which won the recent election for the Chilean constitutional assembly, supported the existing charter that had been significantly altered by previous governments in the South American country.

President Gabriel Boric, who took office in January last year, acknowledged the defeat was a major setback for his hard-left government, which is already grappling with major issues including a surge in crime, a sluggish economy, illegal immigration, and conflicts in indigenous regions.

“The previous process failed  because we didn’t know how to listen to those who thought differently. I call on the Republican party not to make the same mistake,” said Boric. “This process can’t be about vendettas, but putting Chile first. As a country, we have a historic opportunity to reconcile ourselves after the fractures we’ve lived through and to advance toward a developed and inclusive country.”


Kast is widely regarded in America as the closest ideological ally of the U.S. Republican Party and Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro. He rose to prominence during his unsuccessful 2021 presidential campaign, where he lost in the second round run-off by approximately 44 percent to Boric’s 56 percent. His platform includes strong support for law and order messaging, free market economic policies, restrictions on abortion and same-sex marriage, and reducing levels of illegal immigration.


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