Chile’s Pinera proposes delayed election of new constitution due to Covid-19

On Sunday, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera proposed delaying elections that will elect a commission to rewrite the country’s dictatorship-era constitution due to a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections.

Pinera said he would present a proposal for “health for all Chilean residents” – which would need congressional approval – to postpone the April to May election.

Chile has registered a record number of coronavirus infections.

With new virus variants, which are believed to be more contagious and spread across Latin America, cases have increased in Chile despite the country’s impressive vaccination.

Chile has also started a new and strict lockdown for more than 80 percent of the population, with shopping trips for even basic products banned during the weekends.

The election – now scheduled for May 15 and 16 – will elect the 155 members of the Constituent Assembly, who will rewrite the constitution, which derives from the rule of military dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-90).

Chileans voted overwhelmingly in October to rewrite the constitution, which had been one of the most important demands from protesters that emerged in October 2019 to lead months of protests against social inequality.

Chileans will return to the polls on November 21 to elect a successor to Pinera, who cannot stand for re-election.