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Clear shift to the right in Chile's constitutional council election

by Olaf Jacob, Caroline Erdmannsdörffer

Another setback for the government of Gabriel Boric

Last Sunday, Chileans were once again called to the polls. Fifty representatives of the people were elected, who will spend the next five months revising the draft constitution prepared in advance by the commission of experts and then vote on it.

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The far-right party  Partido Republicano is the clear winner of the elections, with 35.42 percent of the votes cast and 23 elected representatives in the Constituent Assembly. In almost all regions of the country, the party led by former presidential candidate José Antonio Kast emerged as the clear winner. The losers were all the other parties and alliances that participated in the election. The center-right alliance Chile Seguro, consisting of the traditional parties Renovación Nacional (RN), Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI) and the liberal Evópoli, fell far short of expectations, receiving only 21.07 percent of the vote (11 seats). The result of the left-wing government alliance Unidad para Chile was also disappointing, with only 28.57 percent of the vote (16 seats) and thus performing even worse than in the September 2022 referendum. The result is particularly serious for the electoral alliance Todo por Chile, led by the Christian Democratic Party (PDC). No candidate was elected from the hoped-for five seats, although prominent, nationally known and experienced candidates such as Carmen Frei and Andrés Zaldívar had contested. The result represents another bitter defeat for Chilean Christian Democracy. The party, rich in tradition, has lost its political orientation in recent years and is sinking further and further into political irrelevance.

With this result, the Partido Republicano will play a decisive role in the drafting of the new constitution. With 23 representatives on the Constitutional Council, the far-right party can block any initiative by the other parties. Indeed, a two-fifths majority is required to reject constitutional initiatives. For this reason, the ability of the new Constituent Assembly to work depends largely on the willingness of the Partido Republicano's representatives to accept constitutional proposals from other parties (especially the center-right Chile Seguro alliance) and to compromise. In this constellation, the Partido Republicano and Chile Seguro as a whole would achieve the three-fifths majority needed to pass the new constitution. So far, however, the Republicans have not shown this willingness to compromise. It therefore remains to be seen whether the Partido Republicano will be able to assume responsibility and distance itself from extreme political positions.

The full-length publication is only available in German.







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