Chilean left-wing political parties initiate a campaign for new constitution

Members of the political parties will campaign to urge people to vote for a new Constitution and a Constitutional Convention, highlighting the need to end the current constitution drafted during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet

February 28, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch

On February 26, the Commando ‘Chile Digno’ or Dignified Chile, a platform that brings together several left-wing political parties, began an electoral campaign for the entry plebiscite for a new constitution scheduled for April 26. With a peaceful demonstration at the Plaza de Armas in the capital, Santiago, the umbrella organization launched the campaign to promote support for a new constitution in the country, to promote the idea that changes are achieved in the streets and ballot boxes by actively mobilizing and voting.

At the demonstration, Natalia Contreras, a progressive councilor of Santiago, said that “the countdown has begun and that everything that has been happening for months has been transformed into a concrete fact that can be reflected in two more months. The time has come to take action at the polls.”

The Commando Dignified Chile ensured that it would support the social movement that Chileans have been carrying out since October 18, 2019, demanding a new and inclusive constitution with people’s participation.

In this regard, Camilo Lagos, the president of the Progressive Party, said that “one of the characteristics of this Commando is that it is and will be in the streets and at the polls, that is, it does not turn its back on or criminalize the social movement, on the contrary, it is with them.” “We are going to march on March 8, we are going to be there at the Dignity Plaza this Friday like every Friday and at every other place where a citizen’s call will be given, because the Commando Dignified Chile is made up of parties and social organizations that have been a part of the struggle and will continue to be a part of the mobilization” he added.

The referendum on April 26 will raise two questions: whether or not a new constitution is needed and, if so, what type of body should write it, a “Mixed Constitutional Convention” or a “Constitutional Convention”. The “Mixed Constitutional Convention” will have a 50% representation of congress members and 50% of elected members for this purpose. The “Constitutional Convention” will have a 100% representation of members elected by citizens for this work.

During the campaign, the members of the political parties associated with the platform will do door to door campaigning, organize consultation meetings with citizens and broadcast their messages on radio and television. Their central message is to urge people to vote for a new Magna Carta and a Constitutional Convention, and make them understand the need to end the current constitution drafted during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet which promotes inequality and a neoliberal economic system.

Hashtags such as #AprueboChileDigno (#IApproveDignifiedChile), #AprueboNuevaConstitucion (#IApproveNewConstitution), #ConvencionConstitucional (#ConstitutionalConvention), #Plebiscito2020 (#Plebiscite2020), #ChileDesperto (#ChileWokeUp), etc. have been trending on social media with messages calling on the people to approve the option of need for a new constitution and mark the option of Constitutional Convention for writing the new Magna Carta.

If the need for a new Constitution gets approved in April, the election of the constituents for either of the two authorities: “Mixed Constituent Convention” and “Constituent Convention” will be held in October 2020, along with the regional and municipal elections. The draft of the new Magna Carta prepared by the elected authority will then be put to another popular referendum for its ratification, coinciding with the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2021 and it will be a mandatory voting process.

The Commando Dignified Chile was formed in January and is made up of the Communist Party of Chile, Progressive Party, Social Green Regionalist Federation, Humanist Party, Equality Party, Libertarian Left, People’s Democratic Movement, and various social organizations.