Constitutional Convention begins to dialogue

Constitutional Convention begins to dialogue

Political deliberation within the Constitutional Convention (CC) has been a new experience, since there is no precedent with these characteristics: diversity of political sensitivities, independents, constituents without previous similar experiences, representatives of the most diverse territories and themes, voices of native peoples that are also diverse among themselves. For this reason, within the CC the agreements have been slower, and the debate longer. Something that was not usual was also seen, for example, in Congress, of having substantial differences between the results of a vote in a commission and the one subsequently carried out in plenary.

With this on their shoulders, and after repeated bad results of commission reports in the plenary session, they began to identify the main nodes of the negotiations and open spaces for dialogue and negotiation between the different groups. Although agreements between groups were agreed before, it was essentially between those who have common interests regarding certain issues, but since this Wednesday a kind of negotiating table was installed with representation of all the groups, to generate agreements in the replacement report of Sistema Politician, within hours of the deadline for indications.

The talks continued yesterday and will probably continue today. The main knots are already identified: composition of the Congress and structure of the Executive Power. In the first, work is done around an asymmetric bicameralism, where a first step was taken by agreeing on a Congress of Deputies and Deputies (which had first been thought of as a Plurinational Chamber) and a Congress of Regions (and which had been proposed as a Chamber or Territorial Council).

Regarding the foregoing –before the elimination of the “plurinational” concept of the name–, the Mapuche constituent Pink Catrileo stressed that “the rights of the original peoples are not at stake in the names but in the content, therefore, we have no objection to the elimination of the concept of plurinational, because plurinationality is not due to a declaration, but rather to the composition of the Congresses in this case”. He added that they are moving forward to arrive with more votes than the 2/3 necessary, and that “there is still optimism”. “All the groups that are part of the Commission are being invited to the meetings, they are giving their points of view and their positions, and we hope to reach the Plenary with a broad consensus”, he emphasized.

It is still pending, yes, what is established as attributions, because while some advocated that the Congress of the Regions have the power to process the law, others insist that the asymmetry of both spaces should be established, leaving said power only to the Congress of Deputies and Deputies.

What is going to happen with the Executive is also pending, in whose framework a triumvirate made up of President, Vice President and Minister of Government had been proposed. Until now, there are coincidences in that there is no space for this design to be approved, so some propose that one of the positions be elected or that the institution of the Presidency simply remain alone. At another point is the decision to recognize political-social movements within the new Constitution.

The socialist constituent Thomas Laibe valued the efforts that are being made, assuring that “the good news of the rejection of this report is that what it generated was the involvement of the groups in the discussion. There are already many more elements of the total of the groups to be able to reach an agreement The agreement that we reach is going to be better than the one that had been achieved before, because it is more representative of the CC”.

Your pair of National Renewal, Christian Monckebergconsidered “anticipated to speak in agreement. I think it is positive that we meet and that they have invited us, it is appreciated, it is always good to be present in the conversation and to be able to contribute, because there is a lot of experience and desire for the political system to work well “.

For its part, the conventional DC Fuad Chahinstressed that “this logic of tug-of-war to see how we are all somehow happy, and not to seek a functional and coherent design, I think it is going to make us fail in plenary. And if we do not fail in the Plenary, we can end up with a political system that later does not work in practice and I think that this is a serious problem and an enormous irresponsibility (…). I am not available to reach any agreement. I am available to reach an agreement that really allows us to improve the quality of our democracy”.

In this context, the sociologist and director of Tú Influyes, Axel Callisvalued the incorporation of the right to the talks, although he believes that only last week was there real awareness of the danger in which it was, because the non-agreement means not having a Constitution.

“Here there has to be a way to find a polarity within the groups that allows us to have a System, because without a political system there is no Constitution, and we must be clear about that,” added Callís.


One of the first reports to fail in plenary was the Environment, a commission that from the beginning was considered one of the most complex, since it incorporates aspects that arouse conflicting ideological positions. It is called the “Commission on the Environment, Rights of Nature, Common Natural Assets and the Economic Model”, and it must ensure that the environment coexists with economic development, something that sometimes causes tension.

His replacement report is voted on today, together with the second constitutional proposal with the articles rejected in particular in the plenary instance. In the replacement proposal, articles such as the rights of Nature, Natural Commons, and waste management, among others, will be voted on again, while the second proposal includes the climate crisis, environmental democracy, and the recognition of animals as sentient beings. All of them, modified with respect to the first draft.

For example, in article 23 of the second proposal –which was approved in general but rejected in particular– it said that “the State will protect animals, recognizing their sentience, individuality and right to live a life free from mistreatment”, and tomorrow it will be voted that “animals are subject to special protection. The State will protect them, recognizing their sentience.” Also, in article 19, reference was made to public access to “mountains, native forests, salt flats, rivers and shores, sea and beaches, wetlands, lakes, lagoons, and ancestral paths”, a detail that was partially removed from the wording.

In the debate, it was possible to reduce the articles from 40 to 9, in a conversation in which representation from the Broad Front was incorporated, which is not part of the commission, in order to broaden the agreements and reverse the majority fall that it had in his first passage through the Plenary. In addition, articles related to norms of other commissions were reviewed, bringing together some similar ones in a single article, which in the opinion of several facilitates the debate somewhat.

In the analysis after the first rejection of the report, several constituents had emphasized that the composition of the aforementioned commission was predominantly environmental activists, which for some generated certain collisions in the Plenary, since the agreements within said area were not necessarily representative of the rest of the CC. Several spoke of “excess volunteerism”, and others, within the commission, pointed out that people who do not know the reality in depth, for example, of wetlands, ecosystems, among others, and who only prevailed a more economistic vision of natural resources. That is why there has been a transversal assessment to open up the debate more.

Finally, in the midst of the clash of looks, the commission managed to work around a majority agreement to approve all the articles in general today. In the right-wing sectors there was a positive assessment of the progress, ensuring that the new proposal is more coherent and systemic, so today there should be no big surprises, despite the fact that there are still nuances among the constituents.

From Social and Independent Movements, some constituents agreed that an agreement was worked on in a good way and that it should be approved in general today, although they notice rejections in particular in proposals for Natural Common Goods and access to nature. Some conventionalists accuse that in the drafting of the articles there was an agreement on the part of the political parties, without independents or Social Movements, which modified some points that are fundamental for them, such as detailing access to wetlands and ancestral paths, among others.

Within the Environment Commission, they warned that the second report will be the same or more complicated, since it incorporates issues as sensitive and controversial as water, which is leading to a heated debate, although in general they hope that the experience of the first report will serve as a basis for facilitating agreements in the latter.

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