PES welcomes overwhelming majority to change Chilean constitution


Protests in Santiago

Demonstrators gather in Santiago to call for political change, which led to the referendum for a new constitution. Photo: Carlos Figueroa.

The Party of European Socialists warmly welcomes the outcome of the referendum in Chile, where the great majority of the people voted in favour of drafting a new just and inclusive constitution.

The new Chilean constitution is set to replace the current one from 1980, enacted during the military dictatorship, and will be drafted by a directly elected, gender-balanced assembly. 

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

"We welcome the huge popular movement in favour of the process of writing a new constitution. This is the right step for breaking with the past, guaranteeing new, fair and inclusive fundamental laws for Chile.

“The progressive campaigners for ‘Yes’ showed remarkable drive and courage, bringing the subject to a popular vote and to mobilising the Chilean people in favour of a new constituent assembly. We commend all the progressive forces on the “YES” side, especially our comrades from the Socialist Party of Chile (PS)."

In early March, PES Deputy Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck travelled to Chile’s capital Santiago - alongside Conny Reuter from the Progressive Alliance and Martin Sandgren from PES member party SAP Sweden - to show solidarity with the PES’s Chilean sister party. We supported them during the referendum campaign and will continue to do so through the common frame of the Progressive Alliance.

Socialist Party of Chile event, March 2020 

PES Deputy Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck (third from left), Conny Reuter from the Progressive Alliance, Martin Sandgren from SAP Sweden and others at an event hosted by the Socialist Party of Chile, March 2020 

The leader of the Socialist Party of Chile senator Álvaro Elizalde managed to summarise the significance of the historic vote in a few words. Following the announcement of the referendum results, he said:

"We humbly celebrate a historic victory. This is a triumph of the mobilisation of the people, Chilean women and men. They made possible a new beginning, where all Chileans will lead their own future.”

The PES commends the ideas embedded in the process of drafting the new Chilean Constitution. Chile is pioneering an unprecedented broadening of political representation. The direct election of the 155 members of the constituent assembly and its built-in ethnic diversity and gender balance is a great way to deepen democracy.