More than 3,300 apply to rewrite Chile's constitution

Chile constitution

Mapuche indigenous Juanita Millal Constituent candidate for the "People's List" -a list that brings together social leaders and people who made themselves known in the Chilean protests- plays the kultrun (traditional Mapuche instrument) at a fair in Santiago. Lawyers, trade unionists, journalists, social activists, politicians and even the military are among the thousands of candidates who have registered in Chile to join the Constitutional Convention, the body that, with gender equality and indigenous representation, will draft a new Constitution. Claudio Reyes/AFP

SANTIAGO - More than 3,300 hopefuls have applied for selection to the commission that will rewrite Chile's dictatorship-era constitution, the top electoral body said Monday.

Applicants had until midnight to register their interest, after which the Electoral Service will publish the official list.

The 14 million eligible voters will then elect on April 11 the 155 members of the Constituent Assembly, who will rewrite the constitution, which dates from the rule of military dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-90).

The Electoral Service said that as of 5:00 pm, 2,226 independent candidates had registered, 185 from indigenous communities -- who are competing for 17 reserved seats -- and more than 900 representatives of political parties, bringing the total to 3,311.

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Indigenous people make up 12.8 percent of Chile's 18 million population.

Chileans voted overwhelmingly in October to rewrite the constitution, which had been one of the key demands from protesters who rose up in October 2019 to lead months of protests against social inequality.

A previous law passed by Congress deemed that the commission must be equally split between men and women.

It's a crucial year for Chileans, who will return to the voting urns on November 21 to elect a successor to President Sebastian Pinera, who cannot stand for re-election.


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