The referendum in Chile was held on Sunday with a resounding result in favor of reforming the constitution. After last year's social protests, it was decided to consult citizens if they wanted to begin the process of promulgating a new Chilean constitution, leaving the one approved during the time of Augusto Pinochet in 1980 without effect.
The final results, with all the roundtables already counted, were very conclusive, as a large majority was inclined to vote in favor.
The citizens were asked two questions. The first was Do you want a new constitution? A little over 78%, that is almost 6 million people, voted I approve, while almost 22%, which represented more than one and a half million voters, were inclined to I reject.
The Plaza Italia, renamed Plaza Dignidad, where citizens usually demonstrate against the government, was filled with people celebrating these results.
The second question to be answered by the citizens, which would only be effective if they won Approval in the first consultation, was: What kind of body should write the New Constitution? The option for it to be written by a Constitutional Convention with new representatives elected by the people got almost 79%, while the option for a Joint Constitutional Convention, with some new representatives and some current parliamentarians, took 21% of the votes.
Just over 7.5 million people voted, representing a 50 per cent turnout as there were almost 15 million eligible voters. Taking into account that it was not compulsory and that participation levels are low in Chile, it was higher than expected. The Apruebo also exceeded expectations, as it was believed that it would win, but not because of this difference.
As the option for the promulgation of a new constitution triumphed, this process does not end on Sunday but has only just begun. The next step will be on 11 April 2021, when elections will be held for the Constituent Convention. The elected representatives will then have nine months to draft a new constitution, renewable for three more. When it is finished, there will be a exit ratification plebiscite to repeal the old constitution, which will probably take place during 2022.