- Title: Chile's Pinera inks law for vote on new constitution
- Date: 23rd December 2019
- Summary: SANTIAGO, CHILE (DECEMBER 23, 2019) (REUTERS) CROWD AT CHILE'S EXECUTIVE MANSION, THE MONEDA PALACE CHILEAN PRESIDENT, SEBASTIAN PINERA, SEATED NEXT TO HIS WIFE AT EVENT FORMER CHILEAN PRESIDENT, RICARDO LAGOS, AT CEREMONY (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CHILEAN PRESIDENT, SEBASTIAN PINERA, SAYING: "This referendum, the first in 30 years, should serve to leave behind the violence and divisions that we have seen resurface with pain and sadness during these days." PHOTOJOURNALISTS AT EVENT PINERA, ALONGSIDE CABINET MEMBERS, SIGNING LAW THAT ALLOWS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM TO MOVE FORWARD AUDIENCE APPLAUDING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CHILEAN PRESIDENT, SEBASTIAN PINERA, SAYING: "I think it is of the utmost importance to recover the value of unity, of respect, of dialogue, of agreements, and good will especially with those who think differently."
- Embargoed: 6th January 2020 20:30
- Keywords: Chile Chilean President Sebastian Pinera Santiago new constitution plebiscite protests referendum
- Location: SANTIAGO, CHILE
- City: SANTIAGO, CHILE
- Country: Chile
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001BB767UV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Chile's President Sebastian Pinera on Monday (December 23) signed off on a referendum to be held on a new constitution, which he vowed would generate a "solid, compassionate and legitimate framework" that would help reunify the country after nine weeks of intense protest over inequality and elitism.
Chileans will on Sunday April 26 decide whether they want a new constitution and if they do, whether the body that draws up the new document should be a popularly elected assembly or one mixed with current lawmakers.
The country's current constitution dates back to General Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 military dictatorship and, critics say, fails to guarantee proper healthcare, education and citizen participation in government.
The scrapping of the old constitution emerged as one of the main demands of protesters who have mobilized across the country over the two months.
A poll by Cadem last month suggested that 82% of Chileans believe the country needs a new constitution and 60% want it drawn up by a popularly elected assembly, compared with 35% who want a mix with politicians.
The president said he hoped the new constitution "should serve to leave behind the violence and divisions that we have seen resurface with pain and sadness during these days".
On Friday a demonstration brought chaotic scenes in Santiago's central Plaza Italia rallying point, where an estimated 1,500 demonstrators clashed with as many as 1,000 police officers, resulting in a 20-year-old protester being run over by a police armored vehicle.
(Production: Sergio Viedma, Jorge Vega)
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