Santiago, Dec 21 (EFE).- President-elect Gabriel Boric said Tuesday after meeting with the leadership of the assembly charged with drafting a new constitution for Chile that his administration will provide the body with “institutional support” but not seek to influence deliberations.
“I do not expect in any case a partisan convention at the service of our government, because it is not appropriate. The convention goes beyond the current juncture,” the 35-year-old leftist congressman said.
Boric said that his government, set to take office in March 2022, will “fully respect” the assembly’s autonomy.
“Democracy is something we construct together. I hope we have the will to collaborate with the successful conclusion of this process, which makes me happy and gives me tremendous hope,” the former student activist said.
The assembly chair, indigenous academic Elisa Loncon, said that the convention welcomes “these institutional collaborations, maintaining our autonomy.”
Her top deputy, Jaime Bassa, said that the assembly’s relations with the outgoing conservative government have been “very difficult” and expressed the hope of establishing genuine cooperation with new administration.
Boric was one of the principal advocates of the constitutional convention, which was born from the quest for a political solution to the uprising that rocked the Andean nation in late 2019.
Chile’s deepest crisis since the end of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship began as a protest against a small metro fare hike but quickly turned into a movement that brought 1.2 million people – more than 5 percent of the Chilean population – into the center of Santiago on Oct. 25, 2019.
The demand for a more equitable economic model in a country where the richest 1 percent control more than a quarter of national wealth fueled calls for a new constitution to replace the one Pinochet imposed in 1980, which laid the basis for privatization of health care, water, education and pensions.
Chileans voted overwhelmingly in October 2020 to convene a constitutional convention and the delegates chosen in a subsequent ballot got down to work five months ago.
The assembly is noteworthy for being evenly divided between men and women and for a preponderance of independents and newcomers to politics.
Boric’s courtesy call on the convention came just two days after winning the presidency with nearly 56 percent of the vote in a runoff with Jose Antonio Kast, a right-winger whose brother was a Cabinet minister under Pinochet. EFE