SANTIAGO -- Monday's presentation to President Gabriel Boric of the formal draft for a constitution was made. It is meant to replace the 41-year-old military dictatorship charter and bring about fundamental changes in Chile.
Chileans will vote in September on whether they want to adopt the charter that was drawn up last year by the Constitutional Convention.
Boric tweeted, "This September 4th it will once more be the people who will hold the final say on their destiny."
The first article of the draft describes Chile as a "social and democratic state", as well as "plurinational and interculturally and ecological." It also recognizes the existence 11 Indigenous groups that make up 12.8% of the country’s 19 million residents.
The draft calls for a new system of public health and a process for returning land to Indigenous peoples. The draft also includes new rights such as the right to equal pay for equal work and "adequate and dignified" housing.
Maria Elisa Quinteros (head of the convention), presented the proposal which included 388 articles to Boric in a formal ceremony. Boric signed the decree establishing the date of the plebiscite in which Chileans will vote.
Quinteros stated, "I feel honored that I lead up this historic moment."
Three-fourths of Chilean voters voted for a new constitution in 2020. However, the ceremonial handover comes at a time when many are becoming skeptical about the convention's effectiveness.
At the start of the year, polls indicated that a majority of people intended to vote for the new constitution. However, surveys conducted since April show that opinions have changed. Those who opposed the new document appear to be leading the way.
Analysts believe that Chileans have been influenced by the arrogance of some of the Constitutional Convention delegates rather than the content.
Giorgio Jackson, minister to the presidency, made reference to this circumstance by saying, "We have seen a very poor evaluation of the process."
Boric also called on Chileans to not consider Monday's speech a poll about his government. "The September vote is not, and should not be, an assessment of the government." He said that it's the discussion about Chile's future, and destiny.
Boric was elected to office less than four months ago and enjoyed a high approval rate. However, recent surveys show that Chileans are growing increasingly dissatisfied with his administration due to high crime and high inflation.
The dissolution of Constitutional Convention one year after its creation coincides with the handover of the new document.
The draft will be rejected by the plebiscite. However, it will continue to apply, even though the majority agrees that the country requires a new charter.
If the document is passed by majority vote, it will start a process that could take many years to realize its goals. To implement the requirements, Congress would need to approve new laws.