Protests & The Test!
Chile is all set to change its four-decade-old Constitution! The Latin American Nation has made an indication in this regard, after experiencing strong civil movements for the last one year. Clashes between the Police and the People have claimed many lives during this period. The conscientious citizens of Chile wanted the Government to hold a Referendum, allowing them to decide whether it was necessary to change the Constitution! The Chileans are of the opinion that the Constitution, adopted by General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte’s military regime, cannot meet the current requirements, as it is not Democratic in nature. After dilly-dallying for quite some time, President Sebastián Piñera accepted the demand of his countrymen, and more than 78% of people have voted in favour of changing the Constitution! Now, millions of people have taken to the streets in the Chilean Capital of Santiago to celebrate their Victory!
Political Analysts have opined that people are considering the outcome of the Referendum as a Victory for them, as there hardly lie any experience of collective victory in their memory. Chile has witnessed mostly violence, oppression, political assassination and deportation since General Pinochet’s dictatorial regime. According to the Constitution adopted in 1980, the Latin American country is to follow the Neo-Liberal Policy. In other words, the State Intervention would be minimal; while Privatisation and Free Market Policy will be the driving forces, there. The timing is noticeable, as Liberal Economies have been flourishing everywhere, from the US to Britain, since the 1980’s! The flag of the University of Chicago’s Libertarian Capitalism was also seen flying in Pinochet’s Chile.
Unfortunately, Chile has experienced the dangers of the painful separation between Democracy and Liberal Economy! Although trade was booming in that country, with lots of foreign companies investing there; the absence of a Democratic Environment did not allow Chile to reap its benefits. Unemployment and inflation rocked the National Economy earlier in the 21st Century. Pinochet’s time was over… However, the Constitution was still in force even after four decades. Major services, like Education, Health and Pension, are in Private hands. The main problem is that these sectors have been poorly managed. The livelihood has become expensive in Chile in recent times. The hike in Metro Rail fare in November 2019 triggered Anti-Government protests in Santiago and other major cities. Ultimately, public anger has led to the Referendum.
The people of Chile have made slow, calculative moves. The amended Constitution would come into force in mid-2022. A lot of works would have to be done in the next one-and-half-year. It has been decided that the people will also elect those who would be preparing the Draft of the new Constitution. The current Rulers and Policy-makers do not have the power to do so. Political and Social Organisations will nominate candidates in the next two months, and the people will elect a 155-member Constituent Assembly in April 2021. Gender equality will also be observed in the Constituent Assembly. The Assembly will prepare the Draft Constitution within a year. The new Constitution will be adopted through another Referendum!
The People of Chile have, thus, shown the Global Community how the War of Democracy can be fought, and won in a Right-Wing Political Environment…
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