A survey carried out by the newspaper La Tercera indicates that the election of the 155 legislators who will be responsible for drafting Chile’s new Constitution has brought the country closer to the integration of fundamental rights and issues in the Charter, while signaling different destinations for them. Chilean institutions. like the Central Bank, the Constitutional Court and the Presidency itself.
For more than three months, the newspaper listened to more than a thousand Constituent Assembly candidates, 120 of whom were elected in the vote last weekend, a number that represents 78% of the total seats and, by Therefore, works as a sample of the direction of lawmakers.
From interviews with candidates, the survey identified that the profile of constituents is, for the most part, young (average age 45), lawyer (most elected officials have the right to profess profession) and independent (no. do not belong to a political party.)
According to the results, nearly nine out of ten elected officials are in favor of reducing the power of the Chilean presidency. Those who propose the adoption of a semi-presidential system, with a Prime Minister at the head of state, are 46.8%, while another 40% say they prefer the current model with some attenuations in the power of the President.
Only 6.6% prefer to keep presidentialism as it is today, exactly the same percentage of those who are in favor of a parliamentary model. The figures also indicate that there is no consensus on the presidential term, but 58.3% of those polled said they were closer to establishing a four-year term and 62.5 % opposed the possibility of immediate re-election.
The Chilean Congress, which since 1822 has been divided into two chambers – one for deputies, the other for senators – could also be on the verge of change. Just over half of respondents (51%) say they prefer a unified Parliament. The other half is divided between the 18.3% who would maintain the current model and the 30.7% who would like to keep two chambers, but in a configuration which establishes one as formed by political representation and the other by territorial representation.
Another Chilean institution that could undergo reforms or even cease to exist is the Constitutional Court (TC), equivalent to the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil. According to the La Tercera survey, only 3% of voters questioned want to keep the CT as it is today.
Almost two-thirds (65%) plan to reform it, modifying, among other aspects, the way in which the ministers who make it up are appointed and the prerogative to control bills when they are passed in Congress. Another 31% say they think the best solution is to eliminate the CT scan and create a new organ.
The current Chilean Constitution provides that every law must garner two-thirds of the votes of lawmakers to be passed, but only 13.3% of elected voters heard in the poll agree that this model known locally as “super-majority” must remain exactly as it is. today.
The majority (45.83%) say that supermajorities should only be required when voting on specific projects, and those who want to do away with this model entirely are 40.83%. For these, the simple and absolute majority of votes must be sufficient for the approval of new laws after the promulgation of the new Constitution.
La Tercera also heard the candidates talk about their positions regarding the functioning of the Central Bank of Chile. Currently, the institution is autonomous, that is to say it has the freedom to define its activities for the achievement of objectives, without political interference.
For 86.7% of respondents, this is how the Central Bank should continue under the terms of the new Charter. The figure is the sum of 49.2% who will seek to maintain autonomy, but say they are in favor of the introduction of reforms and the 37.5% who do not want any change. The remaining 13.3% defend the end of constitutional autonomy for British Columbia.
La Terceira also studied the type of educational institution in which elected officials studied. Of the 132 legislators from whom school data could be obtained, 67% studied in public institutions or received scholarships in the private sector (49 and 40 voters, respectively). The other 43 (33%) were from elite schools.
The constituents’ responses indicate that the new Chilean Constitution should include more specific rights in its articles. Among those surveyed, 91.6% defend, for example, the inclusion of access, protection and distribution of water as a fundamental right and a national good for public use.
Similarly, 69.2% maintain that it must be the responsibility of the State to ensure equal and universal access to decent housing according to the size of the family nucleus.
There is also a consensus to guarantee access to energy in the Charter as a fundamental right, although there are differences in the modalities: 41.7% suggest that a model is inscribed in which the The state guarantees equal access to renewable, clean, green, non-renewable, polluting and low-cost energy sources, and 33.33% argue that the state should act as the main energy supplier.
Of the 120 elected officials heard by La Tercera, only one said that there should be no recognition of indigenous peoples in the drafting of the new Constitution, although the composition of the Assembly itself guarantees a quota of 17 seats to members of these communities.
On the other hand, 70% declared themselves in favor not only of the recognition of the indigenous peoples, but also of the cultural diversity of Chile and the definition of the country as a Plurinational State.
In terms of a gender perspective, 73.33% of those questioned agree that the Constitution must contain specific measures which consider that the duty of the State is effective equality between men and women, rules of non-discrimination and equal pay.
Drafting of the new charter begins in June and will take up to a year. Then there will be a new plebiscite, during which the population will decide whether or not to approve the reformulation. In a message to President Sebastián Piñera’s government and traditional parties, independent candidates won the most votes and will form 42% of the new body, with 65 of the 155 seats.
The ruling alliance, which competed on a single list, won only 37 of the 155 seats (24%) in the constituent body. The left, divided into two relations, won 53 seats (34%).