In Chile, a new constitution "to improve health and pensions"

In Chile, a new constitution “to improve health and pensions”

By Flora Gino

Posted today at 2:43 am, updated at 5:16 am

Around the elected representative of the Constituent Assembly, a cloud is formed. He is presented with a white envelope, the initials of which appear: GR “I hope you can read the letter!”, Nicole Cerda, a housing association member in San Joaquin, a town in southern Santiago, insists before asking for a selfie. “We are asking him for a social housing policy, land prices are too expensive,” Explains the union activist in this popular area. “My role is to listen to what people are saying and to represent them in their daily lives,” Presents, in an envelope in hand, by Giovanna Roa (Democratic Revolution, member of the Left Alliance that brought Gabriel Borek to the presidency, December 19).

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It is one of 155 members of the assembly elected in May 2021, is joint and reserves 17 Indigenous seats. The voters of this district, of their various political colors, lead a monthly field meeting in mid-November, during which they report on their work to the citizens, and gather their requests and questions.

Constituent Assembly member Giovanna Roa at an open meeting with residents of the San Joaquin neighborhood in Santiago, Chile, November 17, 2021.

They have been working since July on writing a new constitution, one of the great demands of the historical movement against inequality that shook the country in 2019. The current text, approved in the midst of the dictatorship (1973-1990), is accused of perpetuating the country’s neoliberal model. Gabriel Borek’s election confirms the re-establishment. Symbolically, his second day as president-elect, December 21 – and he will take office on March 11 – was booked for a trip to the Assembly, located inside the former Congress, in the heart of Santiago.

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Equality references

“It is the duty of all of us to stand united to ensure that the Constituent Assembly arrives safely. From La Moneda [le palais présidentiel]We will be at the service of this diverse democratic process, while respecting its independence.” He tweeted on the same day. The president-elect is also the origin of the process: it is he who, in the midst of turmoil, while the street was not holding back, in November 2019 promoted an agreement to craft a new Magna Carta. Almost a year later, in October 2020, 78% of Chileans voted in favor of a new text, in a referendum. To ensure its drafting, 79% chose the option of a body made up of elected citizens rather than a mixed body, also made up of parliamentarians.

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