Why did you lose the "I approve" in Chile?

From Santiago

The proposal for a new Constitution Chilean was rejected at the polls. The result was overwhelming: 61.88% Rejection and 38.12% Approval, with a record turnout of almost 13 million voters, 4.5 million more than in December 2021. The distance between the options was greater than everything that the polls that gave the text the loser had predicted, but not with such a wide margin. Chile was surprised on Sunday night: both those who lost, and those who won, due to the extent of the distance.

The first celebrations began an hour after the closing of the tables. In each of the Rejection Commands their leaders took the floor: the Comando de Chile Vamos made up of the traditional right-wing parties, the Command of the Center-Left for the Rejection, or the Yellow Command for Chile. “What Chile has voted for is to move forward, give itself a new opportunity, Chile needs something better than what was proposed in the text of the Constitutional Convention (…) we are fully committed, without a doubt, to provide Chile with a new Constitution”, affirmed, for example, the spokesman for the Center-Left Command.

All the leaders of the Rejection reaffirmed the will to go towards a new text. “Our commitment is with a good and new Constitution, the constituent process has not finished,” said, for example, the spokesman for Chile Vamos, where, for example, the traditional Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party is located.

It is a central element: the campaign for the Rejection abandoned early the speech in defense of the 1980 text or its reform. On October 25, 2020, the majority of society voted overwhelmingly for a new Constitution, evidencing the defeat of the main legacy of the dictatorship. The right, consequently, took the proposal to go towards a new Constitution. The leaders of the Center-Left for Rejection, for their part, constructed a speech that sought to question those who had historically mobilized against Pinochetism: “We voted No in 1988, I approve in 2020, but this time we said we cannot approve this text, we have to fix it”, expressed one of its spokesmen.

Perhaps there is one of the first explanations for the victory of the Rejection: the ability to have expanded the campaign beyond the right, not having focused the speech on the defense of what was contested in the streets of 2019 and the polls of 2020 and 2021, so that convince a heterogeneous and broad electorate.

“Most of the citizens have spoken out, and despite their keen desire to have a new Constitution, they have rejected the proposal of the Constitutional Convention. We humbly accept this result and its content, as a country we deserve to have a new Constitution that contains the majority sentiment of the people of Chile”. Thus began the speech of the Campaign Command from a stage with several of the main referents of the Government parties.

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As is often the case with defeats, they began to cross-examinations about responsibilities multiply. Some voices focused weight on the shortcomings of a government that has around 38% approval, while others put the center of criticism on the text itself and the dynamics of the Convention. The proposal for the new Constitution had already had a previous delegitimization, with the idea of ​​”approve to reform”, that is, accepting that it had shortcomings in several aspects that had to be corrected.

Other elements of defeat could be thought of: the difficulty, for example, of having built an effective communication strategy of the new Constitution, not only during the campaign weeks, but throughout its sessions for a year. There are several who affirm that the elected body was not able to transmit the internal process to the outside. That weakness faced the complexity to explain a complex text of 388 articlesfaced, in turn, with what was called a campaign of fear and an avalanche of fake news by Rejection.

what’s next

“The government cannot be dissociated from this defeat, it cannot be dissociated from the option that it defended with great force, campaigning for that option, this has to be a call to reflection,” said the president of the UDI, Javier Macaya. The association between the Government and the plebiscite was one of the permanent topics and complexes of the campaign, therefore, the defeat of the Approval seeks to be associated with a defeat of the Government of Boric who has been in office for five months.

The president spoke shortly before 10 p.m. local time. “This decision by Chilean men and women requires our institutions and political actors to work harder, with more dialogue, with more respect and affection until we arrive at a proposal that interprets us all, that gives confidence, that unites us as a country. . There, maximalism, violence and intolerance with those who think differently must be definitively put aside”, he pointed out.

The Government raised since July that, in case of winning the Rejection, the proposal would be to call elections again to form a new Convention that drafts a new text. Boric promised in the speech to work “together with Congress and civil society a new constituent itinerary that gives us a text that, collecting the lessons learned from the process, manages to interpret it to a large majority of citizens.” For that, this Monday he will meet with the presidents of both chambers and then with different social sectors. One of the objectives will be to build agreements to the new mechanism and schedule for the election of another Conventionbut now with the government and the streets marked by defeat, and the right that will seek to go on the offensive after its first major political victory since 2019.

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