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Chile’s conservative assembly begins drafting new constitution


SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A new Constitutional Council dominated by conservative parties in charge of drafting Chile’s new constitution began its official duties on Wednesday, in the second attempt to replace the current text that dates back to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

The new council, elected on May 7, is a sharp shift from the predominantly independent and left-wing assembly that preceded it and produced a draft that was overwhelmingly rejected by voters.

“Those of us who think differently can agree when it’s for the good of the country,” leftist President Gabriel Boric, who was heavily involved in the previous process, said during a commencement ceremony.

“This is what the public expects today, a collaborative process where different parties are capable of yielding when necessary.”

The Constitutional Council comprises 50 members. They will work from a draft written by 24 experts appointed by Congress earlier this year.

The new process will be shorter and more limited than the previous one, which was marred by controversies surrounding extreme proposals and assembly members. The completed text will then go to a national mandatory vote in December.

A small number of protesters from opposing political views amassed outside the National Congress building in Santiago. Some oppose Boric and the need for a new constitution while others oppose the new right-wing council.

(Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Writing by Alexander Villegas; Editing by David Gregorio)

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