Two Chile Academics Debate on Upcoming Constitutional Plebiscite

October 14, 2020

“The new constitution is necessary in Chile to restore the function of channeling social demands in politics. This has not been allowed by the current constitution, which has blocked the expression of the majority,” said Claudia Heiss, Director of the Political Science Department at Universidad de Chile.

“One reason to reject a new constitution is that the current one is not the original 1980 constitution, it is from 2020, resulting from 54 reforms and more than 257 modifications that weren’t just cosmetic. About 70% of the constitution has been modified ... The way forward has to be through reforms,” countered Constanza Hube, Director of the UC Constitutional Forum at Universidad Católica.

The two academics were debating whether Chileans should vote for a new constitution. Citizens will take to the polls in a countrywide plebiscite on October 25 to determine whether to launch a constituent process to generate a new national charter.

The event, chaired by María Victoria Murillo, the head of Columbia’s Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), was the first in the Tendiendo Puentes (“Bridging Divides”) series which provides a platform to civilly and academically discuss challenging issues over which a country may have a difficult time agreeing upon.