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Chileans approve Constituent and bury Pinochet’s legacy



São Paulo – This Sunday (25) the Chileans approved, with a substantial vote, the creation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new Magna Carta for the country, in order to replace the one currently in force – made during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, in 1980. According to TeleSur, 78% of Chileans decided in a plebiscite to approve the new Constitution in the country. This was one of the main demands of the protests that took over the country last year.

Besides that,
constituent members will be 100% exclusive, without the participation of current
holders of elective office, and with gender parity – half of men,
half women.

The president
from Chile, Sebastán Piñera, made a statement to the nation on Sunday night
and said that Chileans chose “the option of a constituent assembly”,
confirming the victory of the option ‘approve’ in the plebiscite.

The speech was still made with only 36.3% of the votes counted, but the trend was already irreversible.

Since before the president’s speech, thousands of Chileans had taken to the streets in places like Santiago, Valparaíso and Punta Arenas to celebrate the approval of the Constituent Assembly. The Palacio de la Moneda, the seat of government, was lit up with the colors of the country’s flag.

About 13
millions of people with voting rights were able to go to the polls to choose
the country’s fate – voting in Chile is optional.

How was the vote

In the process in which Chileans approved the Constituent, each voter received two ballots. The first ballot had the following question: “Do you want a new Constitution?” The response options were “I approve” (which meant being in agreement with the start of a new constitutional process) and “Rechaço” (which meant keeping the current constitution in force).

The second ballot, in turn, asked the following question: “What kind of
should the body draft the New Constitution? ”. In this case, the alternatives were
“Constitutional Convention” (where 100% of the members must be persons
without current public office) and “Mixed Convention” (where 50% of the
Members must also be persons with no current elective public office,
while the other 50%, 77 or 78 members, would be deputies and senators with
current mandate).

at stake

The current
Constitution is the tenth in the history of Chile and the third longest-lived. Was
imposed in 1980 by the dictator Augusto Pinochet – therefore, it completed 40 years of
this 2020.

that even before the 1980 Constitution, all Chilean constitutions were
written by the so-called “groups of notables”. Chile never had an assembly
constituent and never a woman participated in the drafting of fundamental laws
from the country.

At the end of
In 1990, there was a transition process in the country that did not include a
new constituent, but a series of reforms to the current constitution. Another
Constitutional reform took place in the first half of the 2000s, during
the government of Ricardo Lagos (2000-2006). However, none of them changed the
foundations of the model of society built by Chicago Boys– group
of economists graduated from the University of Chicago who led the economy in
Pinochet years – that make Chile the birthplace and symbol of neoliberalism to this day.

This root neoliberalism was the main target of outrage in the social revolt that began in October 2019. After a month of daily demonstrations across the country, some with more than 2 million people on the streets, several days of army touch on the streets with the included curfew and President Sebastián Piñera hidden in the Palace of La Moneda, the first concrete change emerged: an emergency meeting in Congress led the presidents of almost all parties to carry out what they called the “Peace Agreement”, whose main aspect was the acceptance of everyone to carry out a constitutional referendum, which is what happened this Sunday.

Initially, the plebiscite was due to take place on April 26, but the pandemic of the new coronavirus – which had its first cases in Chile in the first week of March – forced a postponement for 6 months.

With information from Opera Mundi and TeleSur

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more unemployment and more informality




São Paulo – Government, businessmen and some parliamentarians were in tune with the defense of the bill that, if approved, would lead to the creation of Law 13,467 in 2017. The so-called labor reform, after all, would lead to the creation of millions of jobs. This would happen to the extent that it would end the rigidity of the legislation, which they treated as being “plastered”, facilitating hiring and giving the much-needed “modernization” to the Brazilian labor market.

Because the law completed three years on November 11 “and nobody celebrated, not even timidly”, recalls analyst Marcos Verlaine, from the Inter-Union Department of Parliamentary Advisory (Diap). “Among the expectations generated by the authors, the government of that time, the businessmen, who sponsored, defended and acted strongly in Congress to approve it, the media and reality, remained the harsh reality”, he says, in an article. He defines the measure passed by Congress as a “capital Trojan horse” to implode labor rights.

Collective bargaining?

The insistent defense of the “negotiated over the legislature”, a recurring expression at the time, was not to privilege negotiation, notes the analyst. “It was to remove rights, since the negotiations – both CCT (ccollective labor agreements) and ACT (collective labor agreements) – they never prevented, on the contrary, that the conventions surpass the CLT, nor that the agreements surpass the conventions. ”

The “millions” of jobs did not come, even before the pandemic. The growth in occupation was basically due to informal work. In 2016, the year before the “reform”, the country had 10.1 million unpaid employees in the private sector and 22.4 million self-employed workers. Last year, they were 11.6 million and 24.2 million, respectively (check table). The data are from the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad) Continua, from IBGE.

Modernization or precariousness?

Employment with a wallet fell. And the Gini index at work, which measures inequality, which until 2015 fell, rose again the following year and has not stopped.

The “reform” introduced hiring modalities, such as intermittent work. They were also presented as items of the necessary “modernization”, but union members and researchers identify them as additional signs of precariousness in the market. Although still small, the participation of the intermittent modality has been growing.

This week, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) began to judge direct actions of unconstitutionality against intermittent work. In his vote, the rapporteur, Minister Edson Fachin, considered the item unconstitutional and causing damage to workers’ health. But his colleagues Kassio Nunes Marques and Alexandre Moraes were in favor of the sport. The trial was interrupted by a request for view from Minister Rosa Weber.

If it is impossible to revoke the law in its entirety, Verlaine suggests specific changes, citing intermittent hiring. “It is necessary to negotiate with all political and social actors in order to bring about changes in this scorched earth scenario” he argues.

read more: ‘Labor Reform’: Stories of a False Promise and Changes in ‘Endless Destruction’

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