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Chile begins historic election of constitution makers

May 16, 2021

Santiago (Chile), May 16: Chile on Saturday began historic elections, in which, for the first time, a Constitution Convention comprised of 155 members will be elected to draft the country's new constitution.
The process "is totally unique in Chile," Lucia Dammert, a political scientist and sociologist at the University of Santiago, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"One of the most important decisions in political terms will be made, which is the formation of the constituent convention within the context of the pandemic," she said.
On Oct. 18, 2019, Chileans took to the streets to protest a subway fare increase in Santiago. The movement morphed into one that protested against inequality and the neoliberal economic model installed during the administration of Augusto Pinochet, when the current constitution was enacted.
The social movement resulted in a national referendum that called for the drafting of a new constitution.
The 14.9 million Chilean voters will also choose mayors, councilors and other officials in the elections.
"Local elections in Chile in general have lower participation, but by adding the constitutional constituents, there is a lot of expectation and that strongly increases participation," President of Electoral Service Board of Directors Andres Tagle said this week in a meeting with correspondents.
To avoid crowding, a two-day election process was arranged and 15,000 electoral facilitators have been installed with the aim of ensuring an orderly, closely monitored electoral process complete with biosecurity protocols, said Tagle.
Source: Xinhua