December 8, 2022

What happens if the new Constitution of Chile is approved or rejected?

Read Time:3 Minute, 13 Second


(CNN Spanish) — Chile is torn between “Rejection” and “Approval” ahead of the historic plebiscite on September 4, which will decide whether or not to support the new text of the Constitution, almost three years after social protests over the high cost of life and inequality, among other claims, that shook the South American country.

In 2020, more than 78 percent voted in favor of a constitutional reform that would replace the current Magna Carta, enacted in 1980 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. From then on, a process was launched to write the new text in charge of the Constitutional Convention that worked 12 months on the project. The final draft was delivered to President Gabriel Boric in early July, two months before the vote.

What would happen if the “Rejection” wins in the plebiscite on September 4? And if the “I approve” triumphs?

They deliver the final text of the new Constitution of Chile to Boric 3:27

If the new Constitution is rejected, will there be another constituent process?

People demonstrate against the proposed new constitution in Santiago, on July 26, 2022. (Credit: JAVIER TORRES/AFP via Getty Images)

According to what is established in the Chapter XV of the Constitution current, which was reformed from the Agreement for Social Peace and the New Constitution of November 15, 2019: “if the question raised to the citizens in the ratifying plebiscite is rejected, this Constitution will continue in force.”

This is what is written, however, President Boric said in July that if the new text is rejected, he would bet on another constitutional process.

“If the ‘Rejection’ alternative (the new Constitution) wins, what will happen is that we will have to prolong this process for another year and a half (…) There must be a new constituent process,” he pointed in an interview on the local channel Chilevision. “It’s going to have to be discussed all over again, from scratch,” she said.

What was proposed by Boric would seem to have the support of the public, according to a survey of public opinion and topics of social relevance by the pollster Activa. Monthly measurement results Citizen Pulse of July say that if the proposal for a new Constitution is rejected, 62.8% would prefer to start a new constitutional process, while 31.8% are inclined to maintain the current one.

What would happen if the new Constitution is approved?

This group of Chileans holds flags of approval of the new Constitution and the country’s flag on July 6, 2022 in Santiago. (Credit: JAVIER TORRES/AFP via Getty Images)

If “Approbation” wins, the new Constitution will definitely replace the current one, which was written under the influence of the neoliberal model of University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman. Despite many amendments, most Chileans blame him for the country’s stark inequalities.

President Boric must convene the full Congress within five days of the plebiscite to swear in the new Magna Carta, which must be published in the official gazette within ten days after its promulgation.

The process toward the possible replacement of the constitution inherited from the late General Augusto Pinochet, the dictator who ruled the country from 1973 to 1990, was initially prompted by an increase in subway fares three years ago.

Mass protests and riots across the country in the fall of 2019 over the high cost of living and inequality, among other claims, forced then-President Sebastián Piñera to accept a referendum to rewrite the constitution.

In October 2020, more than 78% of Chilean voters approved the constitutional change and in June 2021 they cast their vote again to elect the members of the Constitutional Convention that drafted the new text.

With information from Taylor Barnes, Jorge Engels, Jack Guy, Christopher Ulloa and Germán Padinger



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