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Scroll and Quint wanted India to learn from Chile’s proposed far-left constitution, Chileans themselves overwhelmingly rejected it

This draft full of impractical ideas and in conflict with Chile's culture and heritage was expectedly defeated decisively by Chileans.

Chile has overwhelmingly voted against a new proposed constitution that would have been one of the most ‘progressive’ constitutions anywhere in the world. Over 62% of the voters voted to reject the new constitution on Sunday, September 4, preferring to stay with Pinochet’s market-friendly version.

Back in 2020, 80% of the Chileans had voted for the need to draft a new constitution. However, the text of this new draft, which was deemed very far to the left, has been soundly rejected by the voters.

The process to revise the constitution was initiated after a wave of violent protests in 2019. People were protesting against the high cost of living and higher education, poor health care, and general economic inequality. Then centre-right government’s President Sebastián Piñera promised to draft a new constitution to address the concerns of the protestors.

After the 2021 elections, the government changed in Chile, and the left-wing politician Gabriel Boric Font rose to become the President. Boric’s government is largely tied to the new draft and the text reflected the far-left policies of his government.

Among the proposed changes in the new constitution, was the proposal to name Chile a “plurinational and paritarian” republic, rather than a democratic republic. This was to promote the idea that Chile comprises ethnic and identity groups, and not a group of united people. Interestingly, far-left politicians in India are also trying to push a similar idea recently that India is not a nation, but merely a union of states.

Far-left publications like Scroll and Quint want India to learn from Chile’s rejected draft constitution

While the Chileans may have rejected this draft, left leaning Indian websites like Scroll and Quint obviously found great merit in this proposed leftist version of their constitution, and in fact, wanted India to take pointers from it. Not just that, Amnesty International also hailed it as landmark step.

The comprehensive draft constitution, which comprised 338 articles, consisted of several problematic provisions which were outrightly rejected by the very Chileans who voted for the leftist Boric last year. However, the far-left nature of the draft was enough for Indian leftists to go ga-ga over it.

As mentioned earlier, the draft aimed to promote that Chile doesn’t consist of united people, and is just a coalition of various ethnic and identity groups. The very idea of Chile as a democratic republic would have disappeared with the new draft, becoming a “plurinational” republic instead.

The draft was deemed full of unworkable rights, including the right to abortion till the point of birth in a Catholic-majority country, unworkable new environmental laws, a publicly-funded national health service leading to additional taxes, and equitable political and even professional representation for minorities.

The provision prohibiting any job insecurity and granting the right to work by the constitution would have made it nearly impossible to fire any worker under any condition and would have certainly turned away all potential investors from the country.

Article 25 required the government to award reparations for past discrimination as well. The constitution, if passed, would have also renamed and restructured parts of the government to be more social-justice-oriented. It also proposed replacing the senate with a “chamber of regions”, again weakening the idea of a united Chile.

This draft full of impractical ideas and in conflict with Chile’s culture and heritage was expectedly defeated decisively by Chileans. However, Indian leftists, much like their counterparts in Chile and elsewhere keep searching for their utopia through these impractical ideas and try to push them at every turn, even when the people continue to disagree.

Instead of learning anything from this piece of leftist fantasy, Indian lawmakers should be more practical in their approach and bring changes to the constitution that address the problems faced by the common man, instead of chasing this leftist utopia.

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Amit Kelkar
Amit Kelkar
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics

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