Yesterday (25th of October 2020) Chile voted overwhelmingly "Yes" in a referendum to change the constitution. I guess that's a good thing since the previous constitution was drafted by dictator Augusto Pinochet and amended in 1989, while Pinochet was still in power. However, I can't find any explanations/discussions about specifically which parts of the old/current constitution are bad or need to be changed and why.

Hope that someone knowledgeable can fill me in here.


Which parts of Chilean constitution need to be changed?'

Apparently, all of it, since the 2020 referendum was on the question of "whether a new constitution should be drafted." The referendum was adopted with 78% approval.

A news report written prior to the plebiscite, by Natalia A. Ramos Miranda for Reuters, explains some of the issues.

Explainer: Chile's constitutional conundrum - To change or not to change?, November 6, 2019.

Although the country’s founding legal document has been tweaked several times since it was enacted in 1980, those calling for change say a new text is key to safeguarding social rights and establishing citizen participation in the young democracy. Those opposing the change say the current Magna Carta has given stability to Chile and there are more pressing demands to be addressed.


The main argument is symbolic: The existing document was written and approved during the military dictatorship and lacks legitimacy, its critics say. The text leans toward a conservative interpretation of the law and provides no formal avenues for citizens to participate in political decisions. Any changes to the constitution, including involving such issues as access to healthcare, water rights, pensions or the power of the Constitutional Court, require up to a two-thirds approval by Congress.

Constitutional lawyer Jaime Bassa, a professor at the University of Valparaíso, said reforms had failed to the tackle the central chapter of the constitution that deals with fundamental rights. “The political project that the dictatorship embedded in the constitutional text remains in force,” he said.

“The entire system of protection of social rights, specifically social security, health, education, work and trade union cover is marked by a preference for private property and freedom of entrepreneurship.”

Another controversial issue in Chile is the veto power the Constitutional Court has over public policies. “That has caused political agreements reached in Congress to later be pushed back to the Constitutional Court,” said María Cristina Escudero at the University of Chile Institute of Public Affairs.

Furthermore, the new constitution will be written by delegates selected by the people. The vote selecting the delegates is scheduled for 11 April 2021.

Chile Celebrates Voters' Decision To Scrap Constitution, Start Over, October 26, 2020

"Many Chileans see this as a turning point, an opportunity to end social inequalities that led to last year's mass protests," NPR's Philip Reeves reports for our Newscast unit. "They also voted to elect an assembly of 155 citizens, to write a new constitution. Chileans have many demands, including the right to better pensions, health care, and education, and greater recognition for Indigenous people."

Jubilation as Chile votes to rewrite constitution, October 26, 2020

An overwhelming majority of 79% also voted in favour of the new constitution being drawn up by a body which will be 100% elected by a popular vote rather than one which would have been made up by 50% of members of Congress.

Voters will return to the ballot boxes on 11 April 2021 to choose the 155 people who will make up the convention which will draw up the new constitution.

  • “The entire system of protection of social rights, specifically social security, health, education, work and trade union cover is marked by a preference for private property and freedom of entrepreneurship.”. This seems indeed to be good reason for wanting to change the constitution. However it could use some further explanation how the constitution exactly prefers private property and freedom of entrepreneurship over the protection of social rights. Oct 29 '20 at 16:06

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