LatinNews Daily - 10 February 2022

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CHILE: Plurinational assembly proposal unlikely to progress

On 9 February a group of eight members of Chile’s constituent convention (CC) proposed abolishing the three powers of state and replacing them with a ‘plurinational assembly of workers and peoples’.

Analysis:

Since it began its sessions last year, Chilean conservatives have feared that the 155-member CC will come up with radical far-left proposals for the country’s future. The proposal by a group of eight CC members, led by María Magdalena Rivera (independent), can be described as just that kind of fundamental rethink. However, it is extremely unlikely to attract the necessary two-thirds support within the convention and lacks the backing of president-elect Gabriel Boric.

  • The proposal describes the existing three powers of state as being functional to “bourgeoise domination”, allowing business groups to control all major institutions and the machinery of state. It says that instead there should be a single elected, 600-strong plurinational assembly with representatives of productive sectors, communities, indigenous groups, and sub-officers from the armed forces.
  • The plurinational assembly would grant all people the right to self-determination, in effect allowing secession from Chile. It would reject “the annexation of territories traditionally occupied by other peoples”.
  • Former CC vice president Jaime Bassa said that the proposal, like all ideas, was legitimate to discuss but had little chance of moving forward. Teresa Marinovic of the conservative Vamos Por Chile coalition said the proposal went beyond the “chavista dictatorship” in Venezuela to “emulate the totalitarianism of the former Soviet Union”.
  • CC member Constanza Schönhaut (Convergencia Social), a close adviser to Boric, tweeted that the proposal falls “outside the democratic framework that is being used to design the new constitution”.  She added there was no need to panic since it had the support of just eight CC members and would need to be voted on within the CC’s political system committee before any wider discussion in the plenary.  
  • Boric re-tweeted Schönhaut’s text with a one-word comment: “This”.

Looking Ahead: As suggested by Schönhaut, the proposal is unlikely to move beyond the political system committee. But it highlights the problem of a “saturation of parallel initiatives” as identified by the CC leadership, which has reminded CC members that time is limited, and a majority of two thirds is required for any proposals to advance.

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