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The Chilean Constituent Assembly has a new president

  • The environmental leader María Elisa Quinteros, 40, replaces the Mapuche leader Elisa Loncón

  • The Convention deepens its imprint on the left due to the fear of right-wing forces, without veto power

“I have the desire to contribute to a society that be more pluralistic , where we can respect our differences. “After marathon and uncertain deliberations, the Chile's Constituent Assembly has a new President. The environmental leader María Elisa Quinteros, 40 years old, has been chosen as the replacement for Elisa Loncón, the linguist and representative of the original Mapuche community who headed the first section of a Convention that seeks to root out the institutional foundations of that country.

The Constituent Assembly has since its inception features of strong singularity due to its equal component and the representation of native peoples. In a few months it must present to society the fundamental text that must be approved through a new popular consultation, during the second semester of this year. The left, either through its traditional parties or its new aspects, including the one that has led to Gabriel Boric to the Chilean presidency, is predominant in the Assembly. Quinteros, who is a doctor in Public Health, came to the Convention on behalf of the social movements that grew with the outbreak of November 2019. It has become its main authority, to the surprise of many analysts who expected a more moderate figure. She will be seconded by Gaspar Domínguez, a 32-year-old doctor from the University of Chile.

Expectations and fears

Articles of the Magna Carta must be approved with the two thirds of the members of the Constituent Assembly. Another peculiarity of this Assembly is that the right has a secondary role to the point that it lacks veto power. The possibility of a greater loss of prominence of the conservative space generates concern in the economic elite, fearful that the final text will have a radical and unviable imprint. They also doubt the will of the new authorities for consensus.

“These are times of change, they are times of dialogue, are times of encounter . I invite you to be part of this, part of the deliberation, part of the agreements, to co-build in together the two thirds we need to give the peoples of Chile what they have asked us so much, “Quinteros seemed to reply in his first message. “We are not used in the country to listen to political discussions, to dialogue, to reach consensus. For some people it is strange, but it is part of the pluralistic coexistence that we need in the country.”

The role of Boric

Quintero was contacted by the elected president. “He ratifies the autonomy of the Constitutional Convention and the support in everything that the peace agreement establishes, which has to do with resources, with logistics. We believe that we can have a scenario where things are easier because we have already seen that the President and the outgoing vice president told us about the difficulties they had during the process, “said, in relation to the current president, Sebastián Piñera .

A recent survey by the consulting firm Cadem shows that a 58% of Chileans trust the body in charge of drafting the text that will replace the Constitution forged during the last military dictatorship. With a slightly lower percentage, Boric won the presidency in the second round on December 19. The elected president needs the Constituent Assembly to come to fruition. An eventual rejection of the popular consultation would negatively impact your Government.

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