We discussed the challenging times for Chile’s democracy with Sascha Hannig and Rafael Rincón of the respected think-tank Fundación para el Progreso. Chile, one of the most stable democracies in Latin America, has been facing serious challenges since October 2019. The country was shaken by massive social protests, leading to the call for national plebiscite on a new constitution. The situation was further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the consequences, the April 26 constitutional plebiscite was postponed until October.
It is hard to predict the results of the referendum since we do not know how the crisis influenced the trends and priorities of people. We can see a certain validation of institutions, which has been improving in recent weeks as a consequence of the way these institutions contributed to getting the pandemic under control. Chile detached itself from the world agenda during the social protests last year, now the crisis is forcing the country to reconnect globally. Laws regarding infrastructure and teleworking were blocked in the Congress for many months, but since the crisis began, they started to be approved. The crisis leaves behind serious economic consequences and with the tendency of the Chileans to look up to the institutions in the period of crisis, it is possible that they may vote against change of the current Constitution because of the fear.
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