President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, has said the Assembly is to draft a new constitution, with the first session holding on July 4, the country moves towards substituting its current conservative, dictatorship-era charter.
The re-writing of the constitution is as a result of a broad political consensus agreed to after the 2019 widespread social protests that broke out against inequality.
“This convention undoubtedly represents a great opportunity to achieve a new constitution that will be recognised and respected by all Chileans under a framework of unity and stability toward the future for our democracy,” Pinera said yesterday.
The convention will consist of all 155 delegates elected in May.
The delegates will work over for nine months and they will have to balance a popular clamour for profound social change with the need to maintain a robust economy as it rewrites the old constitution, which dates from the rule of Augusto Pinochet.
The copper producing country’s current constitution dates from 1980, enacted at the height of Pinochet’s 1973-1990 rule, and limits the role of the state while bolstering private enterprise.
Many Citizens have blamed the constitution for the deep-rooted gap between the rich and poor, but it is hailed by others, mainly on the right, for the country’s many decades of economic growth.
The 155 delegates will have up to one year to submit a draft text, which must then be put to a popular vote in a referendum.