Chile: Political parties agree to set in motion a constitutional reform process
Practically all the Chilean political parties with parliamentary representation approved a decision, on November 15, to set in motion a process for granting a new political constitution, which will replace the current 1980 constitution.
The basic components of the political decision are:
Calling a referendum in April 2020 which will ask citizens a) whether or not they want a new constitution, and b) whether the body in charge of drawing up the future constitution should be a mixed assembly (Convención Mixta Constitucional) or an elected assembly (Convención Constitucional). In a mixed assembly, 50% of the members are practicing parliamentarians and the other 50% are specially elected members. In an elected assembly, all the members are elected by the people.
Choosing the members of the constitution drafting body, according to the option chosen in the referendum, in October 2020, by means of a universal voting system.
Ordering that the sole purpose of the constitution drafting body will be to draw up the new constitution, and that it will be dissolved when that task is complete. In the performance of that task the powers and duties of the other government bodies and powers will not be affected.
The constitution drafting body will work over nine months, which may be extended a single time for a further three months.
Sixty days after the draft new constitution has been completed, a referendum will be held to ratify the proposed wording for the constitution, with a mandatory universal voting system.
The political parties that supported the decision have undertaken to approve the draft constitutional reform laws that will shortly be laid before the Chilean parliament to enable all the above steps to go ahead.