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Chile starts second attempt to draft new constitution

Chile starts second attempt to draft new constitution
epa08774106 Dozens of people celebrate after learning about the partial results of the constitutional referendum, which indicates the crafting of a new constitution, in Santiago, Chile, 25 October 2020. According to media reports, Chileans decided by an overwhelming 77.6 percent majority to replace the current constitution, drawn up during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), as reported by the electoral authority. EPA-EFE/Elvis Gonzalez

SANTIAGO, March 6 (Reuters) - Chile has begun its second attempt to write a new constitution as a group of experts that Congress appointed to start preparing a preliminary draft was installed on Monday.

The new proposal is expected to be more moderate than the first one, which voters overwhelmingly rejected last September and which would have been one of the world’s most progressive charters.

The experts will work for three months on 12 institutional bases that lawmakers agreed to when they gave the green light to start the process at the end of last year.

Independent lawyer Veronica Undurraga, who the center-left PPD party appointed to the commission, was elected its president.

A 14-member Technical Admissibility Committee also starts on Monday to serve as arbitrator.

The draft will be then given to an elected Constitutional Council.

Citizens will elect the council’s 50 members on May 7. It will then work off the experts’ draft in June, while the vote to approve or reject the proposed text will be held on Dec. 17.

“After the experience of the failed rewrite of 2021-22, it seems likely that voters will endorse moderation in both May’s vote for the Council and then in the ensuing referendum. Assuming all goes to plan, Chile will have a new constitution by the end of this year,” consultancy Teneo said.

The current constitution dates back to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, although it has undergone dozens of reforms over the years.

(Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Writing by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Josie Kao)

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