With less than 50 percent of votes counted, the headquarters of the “I approve” and “I reject” campaigns believe the trend is already irreversible, and the result is in: the Constitution drafted by a convention elected in 2021 has been rejected by the Chilean population.
A resounding 63 percent of ballots came in rejecting the final draft, with only 37 percent of Chileans backing it. So far, 48 percent of voting stations have already been accounted for.
The numbers are somewhat in line with the latest surveys published by pollsters, although the advantage is bigger than expected for the critics of the proposal, with approval even struggling to hold its ground in Greater Santiago, where reform initiatives were the most popular.
President Gabriel Boric is expected to address the nation later tonight once the full results are in, and give a roadmap of what to expect looking forward. Earlier in the race, Mr. Boric suggested a new Constituent Assembly could be elected to draft a second proposal if rejection won the day.
The text would replace a dictatorship-era constitution which, despite some reforms since the return to democracy in 1990, held property rights and public order above all and symbolized the political and economic conditions against which social discontents rallied in Chile.
Despite stellar macroeconomic numbers, Chile has faced high inequality levels, which progressively fractured the country’s social fabric and culminated in the 2019 massive protests.
The country’s pension system, which is entirely based on a capitalization model, is a major source of dissatisfaction. The average pensioner in Chile today receives less than the minimum wage, with nine out of ten retirees receiving only 60 percent of the minimum wage — currently at USD 456.
This is a developing story. Follow The Brazilian Report for more in-depth coverage of the exit referendum and its consequences later today and throughout the week.