Chile: the Constitutional Convention approved the abolition of the Senate and the creation of a new legislative chamber

Chile: the Constitutional Convention approved the abolition of the Senate and the creation of a new legislative chamber

The Assembly who writes a new Constitution in Chile advanced in a root of institutional change Yes approved the abolition of the Senate which has 200 years of history and replace it with a new legislative chamber. The modification of all the text in which you work must, however, be endorsed in a plebiscite.

After a marathon session which ended on Wednesday evening, the Constitutional Convention got two-thirds to include in the draft of the new Magna Carta the elimination of the Senate. However, the article which defined the powers of the “Chamber of Regions”, called to replace it.

According to Mercury of Chile, the Constitutional Convention reached a consensus around a Bicameral legislaturecomposed of a Congress of Deputies and Deputies -as it already exists today- and a Chamber of Regions. In this sense, its members will no longer be senators, but “regional representatives”.

The proposed new Magna Carta aims to eliminate the Chilean Senate.DEDVI MISSENE – AFP

However, its functions are unclear. The constituent assembly approved 40 articles on the political system, but did not find enough support to define the functions and scope of the entire institutional system to be set up, including the brand new “House of regions”.

The new chamber, according to the Chilean media, is a deliberative body, “joint and multinational of regional representation, responsible for contributing to the formation of regional agreement laws and exercising the other powers entrusted by the Constitution”.

It has only been established that the two chambers will meet to take the oath of the president, receive the rendering of accounts and for the opening of the legislature.

The drafting of a new Constitution was the result of the social breakdown of 2019.
The drafting of a new Constitution was the result of the social breakdown of 2019.BBC World – Getty Images

Meanwhile, the Conventionalists agreed to avoid indefinite re-election in Parliament, a different scenario from Argentina. It remained in the project that deputies and regional representatives are eligible for re-election for one term only.

Those who encourage the creation of “The Chamber of Regions” emphasize that it is an organ without the key legislative powers that the current Senate has. Eliminating or reforming the Upper House has been one of the central battles of the representatives of the left to the meeting, which considers that the Senate blocks or stops progress and laws.

On the contrary, those who oppose To this extent, they point out that too much power would be given to the Chamber of Deputies and centralize decision-making.

“The Chamber of Regions will intervene in a very small number of matters; regions will have no say in matters of health, pensions, transport or education“, raised Hernán Larraín, one of the members of the right-wing assembly, according to the agency Reuters.

Chileans voted in November 2020 to replace the Constitution established 40 years ago.
Chileans voted in November 2020 to replace the Constitution established 40 years ago.AFP

After the failure, the article which should define the attributions of the Chamber of Regions, as well as others in debate, will return to the commission on the political system before a new vote in plenary session.

“For sure we are concerned about some items that have fallenRicardo Montero, constituent and coordinator of the political commission, admitted to the press during the vote. He stressed that the commission will seek to rework the deal to gain more support.

The President of Chile, Gabriel Boric.  (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
The President of Chile, Gabriel Boric. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

The elimination of the Senate has already split the committee in previous negotiations and led to a series of conflicting proposals that were largely rejected by the prosecution last month.

The new deal, with a reformed and weakened Senate, came after polls showed support for new constitution wavering and that some voters said the infighting and extreme proposals made them lose faith in the process.

19-12-2021 Elisa Loncón, President of the Constitutional Convention of Chile.  MADRID, 19 (Agencia UNO/EP) The president of the Chilean Constitutional Convention, Elisa Loncon, voted in the second round of the presidential elections being held this Sunday and stressed that it is "fundamental" so that the Constituent Assembly has the "back" of the president who is elected.  SOUTH AMERICAN POLITICS CHILE DIEGO MARTIN
19-12-2021 Elisa Loncón, President of the Constitutional Convention of Chile. MADRID, 19 (Agencia UNO/EP) The President of the Chilean Constitutional Convention, Elisa Loncon, voted in the second round of the presidential elections being held this Sunday and stressed that it is “fundamental” that the Constituent Assembly have ” approval” of the president who is elected. SOUTH AMERICAN POLITICS CHILE DIEGO MARTIN

The assembly has little time to approve the missing items and complete the project, since On May 17, a commission responsible for harmonizing the document must begin work.

The new Magna Carta will be subject to a mandatory plebiscite on September 4. “It’s a very complex, very technical question,” Rosa Catrileo, voter and commission coordinator, told reporters after the vote.

“It’s a challenge, we have little time, but we still have some.” Next week, the constituent assembly will vote on articles that could redefine water rights and reform mining rights, a sensitive topic at the world’s largest copper producer.

With information from Reuters

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