Chile's Boric pledges to continue constitution reform

STORY: After Chile overwhelmingly voted against a proposed new constitution, which would have been one of the world's most progressive charters, President Gabriel Boric pledged on Sunday to push for a new constituent process.

Almost 62% of voters rejected the new text in Sunday’s referendum, with over 99 percent of ballot boxes counted.

That’s compared with nearly 80% of Chileans voting in favor of drafting a new constitution two years ago.

Boric, whose left-wing government is largely tied to the new text, said cabinet changes were coming, and his administration would work to draft another constitution.

Center-left and right-wing parties that promoted the rejection campaign have also agreed to negotiate over the new text.

"I pledge to do my utmost to build, together with Congress and civil society, a new constituent itinerary that will provide us with a text that, taking on board the lessons learned from the process, manages to interpret the views of a broad majority of citizens.”

The rejected proposal was drafted in response to widespread violent protests that gripped the nation in late 2019.

It focused on social rights, the environment, gender parity, and indigenous rights, a sharp shift from its market-friendly constitution dating back to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

But polls showed public support had dwindled amid controversies surrounding those elected to draft the document.

Nearly 13 of 15 million Chileans and residents who were eligible to vote, cast ballots across more than 3,000 voting centers.

Voting in Sunday’s referendum was mandatory.