Chile Radicals Get a Warning to Tone Down Constitution Proposals

Chile Radicals Get a Warning to Tone Down Constitution Proposals

The more radical members of Chile’s Constitutional Convention need to go back to the drawing board if they want some of their proposals to get through votes in the plenary, said Gaspar Dominguez, vice president of the convention.

“Constituents at committee level need to be able to rewrite proposals to obtain 103 votes at the convention’s floor, otherwise their proposals will be definitively rejected,” Dominguez said in an interview. 

Chile Radicals Get a Warning to Tone Down Constitution Proposals

The plenary threw out almost every proposal put forward by the environmental committee last week. Of the 40 measures suggested -- including a ban on private ownership of natural resources and a proposal to grant indigenous groups veto power over projects within their regions -- only a single subsection of one article was approved. The rest went back to the committee stage for amendments before they can return to the floor. 

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Further proposals from the environment committee on the nationalization of the entire mining and lithium industry and the elimination of existing water rights are yet to try their luck in a plenary session. 

The committee is mostly comprised of green activists and is not representative of the convention as a whole. “In statistical terms, it’s a biased sample,” Dominguez said.

He hopes that many rejected articles can be improved and return to the plenary for a second vote.  

The Constitutional Convention was created following a wave of protests over inequality and poor social services that exploded over two years ago. Delegates are now treading a fine line between greater environmental protection and encouraging investment in the some of the world’s largest copper mines and a booming lithium industry. 

The new constitution will be put to a referendum later this year.

“This process will be good for investors once the text is ready, because it will give the needed certainty that was lost during the social crisis,” Dominguez said. 

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