The Chilean Senate approved this Wednesday by a large majority the list of 12 specialists that will make up the Commission of Experts to advise the constituent process, a group that together with the 12 professionals ratified yesterday by the Lower House will prepare the basic text for the new bill fundamental.
With 41 votes in favor, 3 against and 1 abstention, the list was ratified by the plenary after complex negotiations between the party committees, with parity as the biggest obstacle due to the excess of men in the original proposals.
“This process is not guaranteed because there are experts and experts, it will only be guaranteed if the social and political dialogue and allow us to leave behind the Constitution of the moment in which the country experienced the deepest violations of human rights”, said the senator of the Communist Party, Claudia Pascual, during the vote.
The senator of the right-wing party Unión Demócrata Independiente Javier Macaya, for his part, referred to the choice of the experts as “a foundational and important milestone” and insisted that this second path will only be successful if they win “agreementsbetween the different forces.
In addition to drafting the text that will serve as the basis for the new Constitution, the experts must accompany the advisors of the constituent body throughout the process and integrate, by lottery, the mixed commission that resolves disputed regulations.
“Hopefully this process goes well, but I doubt it if there is not even the opinion of the independents who represent the organizations and the people, it is a Constitution of political parties that have brought their friends as experts”, criticized the independent senator Fabiola Campillay, victim of police repression during the popular protests that opened this constituent process in 2019.
a difficult task
The professionals appointed by the Senate have an academic profile and experience in state administration positions, like the commissioners elected yesterday by the Chamber of Deputies.
The list of names proposed by the center-left was made up of Gabriel Osorio, Catalina Lagos, Francisco Soto, Leslie Sánchez and Alejandra Krauss. The left named Magaly Fuenzalida, while the right-wing Chile Vamos coalition suggested Hernán Larraín, Bettina Horst, Teodoro Ribera, Jaime Arancibia, Katherine Martorell and Sebastián Soto.
It was not an easy task for the political parties to define the names of their constitutional experts because the best cadres of some conglomerates participated in the previous process and are now disabled. In addition, the pro-government forces have many of their prominent figures working in government positions.
In addition to the Committee of Experts, this Thursday the 14 jurists that will make up the Technical Admissibility Committee were also ratified, a space that will play an arbitration role and ensure compliance with the 12 pillars pre-agreed by the political parties that will make up the new text.
Towards a new plebiscite
On January 11, the Chamber of Deputies signed into law the constitutional reform that enables the second constituent process so that Chile has a new Fundamental Charter within a year.
The members of the so-called Constitutional Council will be elected at the polls on May 7 and will have up to 5 months to prepare the text proposal that citizens will then vote on in a plebiscite on December 17.
Unlike the previous process, the current agreement includes 12 institutional principles that the drafting body must follow and that would prevent a re-founding proposal, such as the one that on September 4 was rejected by more than 62.5% of the voters and that was drafted by a convention of progressive majority and made up of independent citizens, without party affiliation.
Despite the rejection in the September plebiscite, there is a consensus on the need to replace the current Constitution, established during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).
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