Chilean president vows to continue work on new constitution after referendum defeat



Chile's President Gabriel Boric on Sunday night conceded in light of a major referendum defeat that the Chilean people were not satisfied with the proposed Constitution and pledged to work on new a proposal in the future.

Chileans on Sunday decisively rejected a proposed new constitution to replace the one adopted during the reign of Augusto Pinochet. Count result showed that nearly 62 percent voted against it as compared to less than 40 percent in favor.

"This decision requires that we work with more effort, more dialogue, respect and affection, until we arrive at a proposal that interprets for us all," the president said in a national speech, adding that he will call up a round of talks with officials on Monday morning to collect proposals from different sectors.

Social upheaval that began in 2019 provided the impulse to overhaul the constitution and Chileans approved the redrafting of the constitution in a referendum on October 25, 2020, in which more than 7.5 million votes were cast.

The 388-article draft rejected on Sunday was written over the course of the last year by a convention of 154 citizens tasked with replacing the document written during the rule of Pinochet that focuses on private rights and free market principles.

It proposes structural reforms to social protection systems, establishes a plurinational and decentralized state, and puts an emphasis on women's rights and the environment. But some feared the new text would generate instability and uncertainty, which could then harm the economy.

Among the chief concerns of opponents was the prominence given to the country's Indigenous peoples, who make up close to 13 percent of the 19 million strong population.

Proposals to enshrine reproductive rights and protect the environment as well as natural resources such as water, which some say is exploited by private mining companies, also garnered much attention.