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Constitutional draft becomes Chile’s best-selling nonfiction book

President Gabriel Boric holds a copy of the country's new constitutional draft. Photo: Sebastián Rodríguez/Prensa presidencia
President Gabriel Boric holds a copy of the country’s new constitutional draft. Photo: Sebastián Rodríguez/Prensa presidencia

Chileans will on September 4 decide whether to approve the constitutional draft proposed last month by a convention the country elected last year — or whether to keep the current Pinochet-era text.

Massive street protests in 2019 led to the proposal to draft a new Constitution. But the country is not convinced with the result of the Constitutional Assembly’s work — polls show that the text would likely be rejected today. President Gabriel Boric, a supporter of the new text, urged citizens to read the 178-page document before making up their minds about it.

Chileans have apparently taken his advice, making the document an unlikely bestseller.

Even though the final draft can be downloaded online for free in Chile’s Digital National Library, the physical version of the new charter became the most sold nonfiction book in the country last month, according to a weekly ranking published by local newspaper El Mercurio. 

By July 5, Chilean publisher LOM sold the first 1,000 copies in less than three hours. A month later, sales have topped the 70,000 mark. The new constitutional draft is also the most downloaded document from Chile’s Digital National Library website.

The progressive-leaning constitution removed “El Economista Callejero” (or “The Street Economist”), by conservative author Axel Kaiser, from the top of the charts. 

Mr. Kaiser, who is opposed to the new constitution, criticized the list of best-selling books. In his opinion, the constitutional draft is not a book and should not be included on the list. “If it were [a book, the draft] should be listed as fiction,” he said.

Chile’s constitutional approval campaign is gaining some momentum, a Cadem poll suggests. Now, 39 percent (+2 points) of voters stand in favor of the new draft, with 47 percent (-5 points) against it.