Chile’s proposed new constitution putting an end to the 17 year old dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, was submitted to President Gabriel Boric. The move puts Chile on a path towards having one of the most democratic and progressive constitutions in the world.
At 388 articles long, the new constitution is one of the longest in the world. Compared to the Pinochet-era document of 1980, it is wide-ranging and enshrines a host of social rights in law, including the right to free speech, abortion, clean air and water, and a publicly-funded national health service.
In an attempt to address historical inequalities and protect minority groups, the document emphasizes the “plurinational, intercultural and ecological” values and makeup of Chile. It establishes equal participation quotas for women in public institutions and hiring regulations that aim to close the nation’s 20 percentage-point gender employment gap, and guarantees LGBTQ+ inclusion in political spaces. The constitution also recognizes the Indigenous population as autonomous communities governing their territories, and enshrines protections for Indigenous cultures, knowledge, and identities.
In terms of the environment, the text breaks corporate monopolies of natural resources. Chile is the only nation in the world with a fully privatized water market. Citizens pay the highest prices in Latin America for water, while mismanagement and deregulation has led to a decade-long “mega-drought” that is being exacerbated by climate change.