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Chile’s Constitutional Convention Approves Abolishing the Senate – Lo Que Importa

Constituyente en Chile aprueba cerrar el Senado - Lo Que Importa

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In the latest episode of Lo Que Importa, our co-editor-in-chief Vanessa Vallejo shines the spotlight on Chile, which took a turn to the far left after being one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America. To discuss the implications of that shift, El American invited Chilean analyst Andrés Barrientos.

At the end of 2019, Chile began a constitutional assembly that seeks to reformulate the state model by drafting a new Constitution. The Constitutional Assembly, the supreme body in charge of the new Chilean Constitution, recently approved the abolition of the Senate to replace it with a new “chamber of regions.”

What is behind the constitutional convention in Chile?

Andrés Barrientos thinks that the revolutionary process that Chile is undergoing has two fundamental aspects that modify the country’s institutionalism: the convention and the electoral processes. Both are tools that have served the Chilean left to carry out a “transformation” of the political model.

The analyst believes that the elimination of the Senate fulfills a political function. “For those of us who believe in a liberal democracy, we understand that the role played by a Senate has as its first implication to make a revision of the laws when these bodies such as the Chamber of Deputies tend to have some waves of demagogy and populism”, indicated Barrientos, and he explained that the Chilean Senate represents the regions of the country and its functions are wider than those of the Chamber

He also compared the situation with the elimination of the Senate in Peru and the “instability” that this change generated in the political system of that country, and pointed it out as an “important precedent”. In Chile “there are people who do not believe a liberal democracy, they do not believe in the checks and balances that exist in the democratic system and, in view of this, they are beginning to develop a new narrative to make substantial changes in the political system”, explained Barrientos.

But there is a motivation behind this instability, which seems to be a pattern in revolutionary processes such as the one prevailing in Chile today. What they seek, according to Barrientos, is “to install the tyranny of the majority”.

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