Many of us in Canada have long questioned the missing voice and knowledge of people in the deliberations and actions of government. People do not feel heard, they see their needs go unrecognized, and that policy solutions remain insensitive and unresponsive. The experience of Chile today provides us with a clear example of democratic renewal after years of dictatorship and “limited democracy.”
The people of Chile have lived under a Constitution and neo-liberal policies left in place by General Augusto Pinochet. Growing protests over the years has grown, finally exploded in 2019 reflecting the deep distrust of a regime serving only the interests of Chile’s elites. This growing social unrest has led to the election in May 2021 of a Constitutional Assembly to draft a new constitution to foster an equitable, just, and inclusive society. The involvement of local communities and the mobilization of local people led to the election of 155 citizens delegates to form a Constitutional Assembly with the mandate to create a new vision for this land articulated through a different constitution.
As a post-script, 103 of the elected delegates were independent citizens not members of any political party, 78 are women, 17 are indigenous, and 40% of the delegates are younger then 40. A woman indigenous leader, Elisa Loncon, was elected as President of the Constitutional Assembly with a year to bring forward a draft. The politics of renewal in Chile are more progressive, more feminine, more diverse. For more in depth coverage, link to the story below. – Joey Edwardh
“The rules for rewriting the Pinochet-era Constitution set new standards in creating space for women, Indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities. “Constitutional assembly now!! #ResignPiñera,” reads a sign during protests in Chile in October 2019. (José Miguel Cordero Carvacho / Wikimedia) Over May 15 and May 16, Chileans will elect the 155 delegates charged with writing the country’s new […]”