Chile Assembly That’s Rewriting Constitution Taps New Leadership
(Bloomberg) -- Chile’s Constitutional Assembly elected Maria Elisa Quinteros as its president on Wednesday, cementing leftist leadership in an institution that will deliver a new charter for a global financial market favorite.
Chile’s new charter, together with Gabriel Boric’s win in December’s presidential runoff, paves the way for major economic reforms. The assembly is now weighing changes to business-friendly rules for everything from water to mining. Investors warn political uncertainty will drag on activity, hastening a sharp slowdown in growth following last year’s stimulus-fueled surge.
Quinteros was elected to the convention after running on a platform focused on human rights, respect for the environment and greater recognition of indigenous communities.
She won today’s vote with the support of representatives of the communist party and other left-wing social groups. Members of Boric’s Frente Amplio coalition supported a different candidate.
The fact that it took nine rounds of voting to reach a simple majority signals that it will be difficult to write the constitution as each article requires two-thirds support for approval, said center-right convention member Hernan Larrain Matte after the vote. “Reaching 103 votes will be difficult,” he said.
Chile is drafting a new constitution after a period of social unrest sparked in October 2019 by a subway fare rise. The upheaval ballooned into a nationwide movement that demanded greater equality, better public services and the end to the current charter dating from the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.
The Constitutional Assembly will elect a vice president later in the day.
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