“Hopefully we achieve a good human group that works for all,” launches a voter in Santiago who echoes the hope and also the fears that it arouses in Chile the process to elect those who will write the new Constitution of this fractured country.

In an unprecedented two-day election, in which in addition to electing the constituents, mayors, councilors and, for the first time, regional governors are voted, everything is centered on the 155 candidates who will draft the new Constitution that will replace the one dictated in 1980 by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

“Hopefully we achieve a good human group that works for everyone; that all voices can be heard, that we are all within this new Constitution so that rights and duties are truly fair for all human beings in this country ”, Silvia Navarrete, a 35-year-old economist, told AFP after vote with your partner and your little daughter in your arms.

Carlos Huertas, a 40-year-old university professor, affirms that electing the members of the Convention is the way to “make a change within the country” and the opportunity to establish “the social rights that the people require”.

“I voted for candidates who are thinking of the people and who have been participating in this social revolution,” which began in Chile from the social protests that began on October 19, 2019 and were channeled through this constituent process, he added.

– Fear of “leftism” –

The possibility of drafting a new Magna Carta emerged from the plebiscite of October 25 of last year, when almost 80% of the voters opted for the option “I approve” a constitutional change through a convention elected 100% by members elected by popular vote.

Only 20% of the population favored the alternative of “rejection”, among them, Valentina González, a 45-year-old event producer.

Today she was leaving the voting center in disgust. She did not want to go to vote for the situation of the pandemic but “the civic level” and “the awareness of voting” ended up convincing her.

“I voted ‘rejection’, so I do not agree at all with the Constitution being changed. I am very afraid that it will change for a leftist Constitution and thrown away for Marxism, “he says.

In her opinion, “the constituents are not prepared,” so she is “quite concerned” and hopes that the new Magna Carta “changes as little as possible” the current one.

Among the 1,373 candidates to draft the Constitution, there are politicians from traditional parties, actors, leaders of social organizations and street citizens.

– Many candidates –

More than 14 million people have the right to participate in these elections, which were postponed for five weeks and are held in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which has increased all health measures: the number of polling places was increased. and most of the tables were set up outdoors.

With daily infections that this Saturday accounted for 6,769 and a report of 87 deaths, Chile arrives at these elections with close to more than 48.5% of its target population vaccinated with both doses.

“More people have come than I expected,” Karla Cortés, president of a polling station at a college in a commercial district of Santiago, told AFP, surprised that in the first hours of the two days there was already an influx of people.

The large number of candidates – more than 16,000 in the four elections and 1,373 only for the constituent -, Chileans had to study to decide on their four ballots.

“There were many candidates and that meant a lot of study and I think that the programs of each candidate were not sufficiently publicized for the common people,” Lilian Lavánchez, 65-year-old social worker, explains to AFP.

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