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“No” camp leads ahead of referendum to amend Chile’s constitution: poll

#camp #leads #ahead #referendum #amend #Chiles #constitution #poll

Just months after Chileans elected a left-wing president in a mass rejection of establishment policies, they appear deeply divided over the overhaul of the country’s dictatorship-era constitution, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday.

A proposed new constitution, drawn up over a year by a specially elected assembly of 154 members, will be passed in a referendum on September 4.

More than 15 million people are eligible to take part in Chile’s first mandatory vote in 10 years – essentially choosing between the right-wing “welfare state” promised by President Gabriel Boric and the neoliberal status quo he promised to end.

According to recent polls, supporters of change are in the minority despite recent revolutionary sentiment in Chile, which saw mass anti-establishment protests in 2019 demanding a fairer society.

The revision of the constitution adopted during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) was a key demand of the demonstrators.

But Chile has also long been one of the most conservative countries in Latin America, and abortion ranks high on the list of provisions criticized by opponents of the draft constitution.

If approved, Chile will be one of the few countries in the world and the first majority-Catholic Latin America to guarantee the right to “voluntary abortion” in its founding law.

– Almost a fifth draw –

However, many in majority-Catholic Chile oppose the legalization of a procedure that was completely banned until 2017 and is now only allowed in cases of rape or life-threatening conditions for the woman or when the fetus is not viable.

“As Christians, we are against … abortion,” Hernan Reyes, a 22-year-old student and opponent of the draft constitution, told AFP.

A poll conducted by polling firm Criteria on Wednesday showed that 45 percent of respondents opposed the new constitution, compared to just 36 percent in favor — although that percentage has risen.

Nineteen percent were undecided.

The political agreement that allowed a new constitution to be drafted in response to the protests said that if it was rejected, the existing constitution would remain in effect.

That understanding seems to have been challenged by Boric himself, who said a rejection could trigger a brand new design process.

The “anti” camp also rejects the overt mention of various indigenous groups in the country, which they say undermines national unity.

“The fact that they divide us into different nations, different laws that aren’t the same for everyone seems absurd to me,” voter Isabel Rodriguez, 42, told AFP.

On the pro-change side, many welcome protections for the environment, women’s rights, and guarantees of basic health care, education, water, and housing for all.

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#camp #leads #ahead #referendum #amend #Chiles #constitution #poll

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