Chile to amend constitution, a key demand of protesters
SANTIAGO, Chile – Chile announced Sunday, November 10, it will move to draft a new constitution and replace one dating back to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship – a key demand of protesters who have rocked the country for 3 weeks.
The new constitution will be drafted by a body called a constituent assembly and then put to a referendum for ratification, Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel said.
He made the announcement after a meeting with a coalition of center-right and right-wing parties which until now had been the most reluctant to change the Pinochet-era constitution.
The US-backed general ruled with an iron fist from 1973 to 1990.
Chile has been stunned by 3 weeks of sometimes violent and deadly protests by people fed up with the status quo. They cite low wages, high costs for education and health care and a yawning gap between rich and poor in a country dominated politically and economically by a few old, elite families.
Unrest that began on October 18 with protests against a rise in rush hour metro fares has mushroomed into a broader outcry, with burning, looting and daily clashes between demonstrators and police.
One of the protesters' demands is changes to the constitution.
A survey by pollster Cadem published early this month said 87% of Chileans favored such reforms. – Rappler.com