Bachelet: Chile awaiting new Constitution with great hope

Santiago, Dec 23 (EFE).- Former socialist President Michelle Bachelet on Thursday gave her full support to the entity that is drafting the new Chilean Constitution, saying that the country is awaiting the text “with great yearning and much hope.”

“Not everything will be resolved with the Constitution, but there are many things that are essential to define,” said the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

For the former Chilean leader, who governed from 2006-2010 and again from 2014-2018, the new national charter must establish “a social and democratic state that can guarantee the rights of all people.”

“Covid has demonstrated that it is the state that has managed to solve people’s problems. The private (sector) can participate, but it is the state that has to ensure (people’s) rights,” added Bachelet, who participated as an invited guest at a session of the Constitutional Convention’s Political System Commission.

The constitutional process in which Chile is presently immersed was conceived to be the institutional resolution of the serious protests that erupted in late 2019, which left more than 30 people dead and thousands injured and led to accusations against the security forces for human rights violations.

The new constitutional text will replace the current one, which was inherited from the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship and is considered by many to be the origin of the great inequalities in the country.

Although it has been reformed more than 50 times since democracy was reestablished in Chile, the current Constitution was inspired by the so-called “Chicago Boys,” a group of ultraliberal economist disciples of Milton Friedman who fostered the privatization of services such as water, retirement pensions and healthcare.

“I greatly believe in these constitutional processes. Their role is fundamental because they have a pluralistic outlook and an environment of conversation and respect that enables us to confront questions that are difficult to answer,” said Bachelet, who was the first female president of Chile.

Among the issues that the constitutional commission dealt with was the “profound” reform needed by political parties in Chile, the importance of “citizen mobilization,” and the question of whether Chile should have a vice president or a parliamentary regime.

Bachelet, who at the end of her second non-consecutive term tried to push forward with a constitutional rewrite that failed, also spoke about the need to include pluri-nationality in the new charter “that permits the state to acknowledge the particularities of the indigenous peoples and their demands.”

For the new constitution to enter into force it must be approved in a plebiscite to be held in late 2022 and convened by the current president-elect, Gabriel Boric, a firm defender of the constitutional process.

“It would be a serious mistake not to listen to the desires of the public. A good Constitution is one that helps the country to function well,” Bachelet added.

EFE mmm/rfg/eat/bp

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