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Communists score major victory in Chilean constitutional convention elections

CHILEAN communists were among the big winners in elections to the country’s constitutional convention, taking 28 seats as the left scored a major victory in Sunday’s election.

Their success came as the centre-left Apruebo list won 24 of the 155 seats in the convention, with the right-wing Vamos por Chile list taking just 36 seats — less than a quarter of the total.

While it received the highest total number of votes (762,282), Vamos por Chile hoped to win at least a third of the seats in order to block significant changes to be included in the new constitution.

Each article of the new constitution must be approved by a majority of two thirds, meaning the right wing is unlikely to be able to stop demands that include the abolition of central bank independence and fiscal rules that ensure economic austerity.

The pledge for a new constitution came after more than a million Chileans took to the streets in anti-government protests in October 2019. 

And it is the anti-neoliberal forces of the Communist Party of Chile, the Frente Amplio (“broad front”) and other leftist parties of the Apruebo Dignidad (“approve dignity”) list which led the street protests that forced the creation of the constitutional convention that appear to have scored a stunning and unexpected victory.

It will mark a decisive break with the current constitution, which was introduced in 1980 under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, entrenching privatisation and capitalist rule.

Communist Party presidential candidate Daniel Jadue, who was re-elected mayor of Recoleta with a stunning 66 per cent of the votes, said the party now represents “a possibility for Chile.”

“Unlike the projections, the right has had a disastrous result and is far from taking a third of the constituents, and that is a reason to rejoice,” he said. “The democratic sectors are called to unite to advance in constructing a new Chile.”

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