Congress has to act against time if it wants to implement the new agreement reached to start a second constitutional process in Chile, after the failure of the previous agreement in September. This attempt to craft a new Magna Carta takes into account the popular election of 50 members to the Constitutional Council (CC), as well as the appointment by Congress of 24 members to a Committee of Experts and 14 specialists to a Technical Committee.
These three bodies will have varying degrees of involvement in the preparation of the new proposal, which should be ready on October 21, 2023, to be submitted to a mandatory referendum for ratification in the last week of November next year.
The agreement on Chile, which took 99 days to achieve, after 62% of Chileans rejected the proposal put forward by the questionable Constitutional Convention on September 4, was signed by the president Gabriel Borek, Who indicated that this is a crucial step to reach, through the constitution, a new social pact. Despite the fact that only a few days ago the possibility of the process being mixed (elected and appointed) was open, the Chair stressed that the Expert Committee and the Technical Committee had a facilitating role in the process.
The agreement did not leave all the political forces satisfied, as the Republicans were thrown out of it, as was the case for the first time in the Partido de la Gente. The first was as a right-wing presidential candidate Jose Antonio Cast The second is populism Franco Parisi They insist that Chile does not require a new text and that efforts should be devoted to resolving citizens’ emergencies such as security and inflation.
Although on this occasion the Communist Party joined the convention, Mayor Daniel Jadeau, the most critical voice in that lineup, charged that in the convention “the ghosts of supervised democracy persist”.
Congress must approve in the next three weeks by “quorum” 4/7 the reform that will make it possible to implement the new constitutional course. In addition, you must at the same time set a file 24 joint members of the Commission of experts who will start writing a draft in mid-January. The said experts will be nominated in equal parts by the Senate and the House of Representatives, and will be proportional to the political forces represented there. Congress must also choose 14 technologists who will support the operation, which the Senate will ratify before proposing a single list that the House prepares.
Both the Commission and the Commission will have influence on the final wording of the constitutional text insofar as they will be able, by voting with some “quorum”, to reject or amend decisions taken in the Constituent Assembly (CC). In addition, experts will have the right to speak in all cases.
The mixed nature of the new process was the cornerstone of the negotiations that took place in the past three months, but it was imposed after the conviction that an agreement similar to the one that led to the previous failure cannot be repeated. Yesterday, the President of UDI, Senator Javier Macaya, stressed that “it’s not the same”, because this time there are no 17 seats pre-reserved for indigenous peoples, not the same number of CC members (the previous one had 155 members) and they will have a shorter time frame, so They are expected to act in a more professional manner.
The new Central Committee will be on an equal footing, and its members will be elected by universal mandatory vote in April using the electoral system in which the Senate is elected and will be inaugurated on May 21. Indigenous peoples will have supra-numerical seats, that is, more than 50 seats, with respect to the votes reached on that electoral roll. Approval of standards in the CC will have a “quorum” of 3/5 of its members (previously it was 2/3), and unlike a previous failed process, a standard rejected by 2/3 of the council cannot be replaced. In the face of disagreements between the Council and the Committee of Experts, these disputes will be settled in a Mixed Equal Committee.
The other fundamental difference with the previous process is that the coordinating committee and the experts and technicians must abide by the 12 constitutional principles or foundations that were outlined in the agreement by Chile. Among them, the possibility of creating a multinational state is ignored by reaffirming that it is a unitary and indivisible country, three powers are preserved (executive, judicial and bicameral legislature), Chile is declared as a social and democratic state of rights and concern for the environment is committed, among others .
Days earlier, when negotiations stalled, Borik had indicated that an incomplete agreement was preferable to no agreement, and for that reason, on Monday 14 parties signed their signatures on the text, three dissenters, a DC, and all parties. Pact members, that is, democratic socialism and I agree to dignity, as well as the yellow movements for Chile and the democrats that combine the former center-left and the democratic current who rejected in September.