SANTIAGO — Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera on Monday enacted a law that calls for an April 26 plebiscite on whether or not Chileans want to change the Constitution.
During the signing of the document, Pinera said a new Constitution can help to address many of the grievances that have sparked weeks of protests against inequality.
“This reform opens the doors and defines a path to reaching a great constitutional agreement, which can give us a solid, shared and legitimate institutional framework to tackle, as a country, the formidable challenges of the present and the magnificent opportunities of the future,” said Pinera.
In drafting a new Constitution, the “deliberation should be serene and through dialogue,” otherwise “we are never going to have a good Constitution,” Pinera added.
The April poll will ask Chilean voters two questions: whether they support changing the Constitution and which of two procedures they prefer.
The two options are: a type of constitutional assembly comprised solely of private citizens elected to draft new laws, or a similar body that is half composed of legislators.
Chile’s current Constitution was adopted in 1980 during the regime of General Augusto Pinochet.
Massive anti-government protests were sparked by a hike in subway fares in the capital Santiago in October, and quickly spread throughout the country, fueled by anger at Chile’s inability to distribute the country’s wealth, which led to growing inequality.