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Why the Apparent Reversal? Explaining why Chilean Voters Rejected a New Progressive Constitution

Speaker: Claudio Fuentes
Date: March 8, 2023
Time: 12:10 - 1:25
Address: Hamilton Hall, Room 335

In September 2022, 62% of Chileans rejected a constitutional proposal that incorporated socio-cultural and economic rights new to Chile. This result seems surprising since the proposal emerged from a Constitutional Assembly formed after prolonged social protests in 2019 and in light of the 2021 election of the leftist Gabriel Boric. While Chilean society seemed to be following a progressive path, this vote outcome went in the opposite direction. Three factors may help to explain this: the composition of the Constituent Assembly that strongly affected the themes addressed by the Convention; certain processes and rules of the constituent process that inhibited compromise; and features of the polarized debate regarding the constitutional draft in the months leading up to the plebiscite.


Claudio Fuentes is the Federico Gil Visiting Professor in Latin American Politics. He is currently a professor of political science at Diego Portales University (UDP for its acronym in Spanish) in Chile, where he has also served as Chair of the UDP School of Political Science and Director of its Social Science Research Institute. He has published extensively on issues of the police and democracy (the topic of his award-winning dissertation which was subsequently published), the military and politics, indigenous rights, political behavior, and most recently constitutionalism and democracy.

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This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Institute for the Study of the Americas at UNC-Chapel Hill