Chaotic Chile Convention Defies Odds on New Charter, Experts Say – by Eduardo Thomson and Valentina Fuentes (Bloomberg News – May 20, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — After months of 18-hour days, radical proposals and growing public disillusionment, Chile’s Constitutional Convention has managed something that some deemed nearly impossible: a “reasonable” document that embraces the nation’s new fervor for social rights without undermining its famously free-market economy, according to experts questioned by Bloomberg.

The Constitutional Convention presented its draft charter Monday, and will now spend the next month fine tuning the wording. “It’s kind of a miracle that it got this far,” Tom Ginsburg, a professor of international law at the University of Chicago, said in an interview with other constitutional experts.

It had an “extremely short drafting timeline, a whole bunch of independents with very radical views and a public without much knowledge in the convention itself. And yet somehow they managed to muddle through.”

The resulting constitution, which will be put to a referendum on Sept. 4. currently has 499 articles, more than double that of the current charter. It will enshrine a number of new social rights, improve environmental protection, decentralize political power and boost autonomy for indigenous groups. Delegates rejected more radical proposals to nationalize Chile’s giant copper industry or ban private companies in the health industry.

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