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Chileans, including South Florida expats, to vote Sunday on new progressive constitution

Esteban Felix
Chilean President Gabriel Boric, who supports the new, more progressive draft constitution voters will either approve or reject on Sunday.

On Sunday, Chileans — including those here in South Florida — will vote on the draft of a new constitution. If it’s approved, it will be one of the most progressive charters the western hemisphere has ever seen.

Two years ago, Chilean voters said they wanted a new, more democratic constitution to replace the one written in 1980 under the Pinochet dictatorship. Last year they elected a constitutional convention to write it. On Sunday they’ll vote yes or no on it.

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The new constitution is decidedly progressive. It guarantees, among other provisions: more inclusive government; free healthcare; abortion rights; more empowerment for indigenous Chileans; and strong environmental safeguards like mining restrictions. An early proposal to nationalize Chile's dominant mining industry was dropped.

But while Chile's young, leftist President Gabriel Boric favors the charter, polls suggest it could be rejected - a recent survey found 46% opposed it, while only 33% favored it. That’s largely because the new charter may be too liberal for many Chileans, including voter-eligible expats in South Florida.

Chileans who are eligible to vote here can take part in Sunday’s referendum at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel at Miami Airport and Convention Center, located on 711 NW 72nd Ave, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information can be found here.

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.