Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

Epidemiologist Maria Elisa Quinteros takes charge of the body that is to replace Chile’s Pinochet era constitution.

The Chilean assembly charged with drafting a new constitution in the South American nation elected a new president.

After nine rounds of voting on Tuesday and Wednesday, members of the constitutional assembly elected epidemiologist Maria Elisa Quinteros to replace the body’s first president, professor and activist of the indigenous Mapuche. Elisa Loncon.

Provision has been made for the change in the texts of the 155-member body, who last year was elected to draft the text to replace Chile’s previous Magna Carta, produced during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Quinteros got the 78 votes needed to replace Loncon in the post. “We hope to lead this process wisely,” the 40-year-old said.

Quinteros’ victory was welcomed on Wednesday by Chile’s newly elected next president, Gabriel Boric.

“There are times when good and hopeful news emerges from difficult situations and I believe this is one of them,” Boric wrote on Twitter. “Count on my president to work 100% with the constituent process.”

The constitutional assembly has nine months, with a possible extension of three months, to draft the new constitution. It must then go to a referendum to be drawn up by Boric’s government, which takes effect on March 11.

Boric, a 35-year-old former student movement leader, was elected last month after defeating far-right candidate Jose Antonio Kast by more than 11 percentage points.

He will be the country’s youngest president and has promised to work with the constitutional assembly while respecting the body’s autonomy.

Although amended in recent decades, the previous version of Chile’s constitution was widely unpopular and considered a source of social inequality.

Chilean voters in May elected dozens of progressive, independent delegates to re-draft the constitution – which dealt a surprising blow to conservative candidates who failed to get a third of the seats to veto any proposals.

The new constitution is expected to bring about major changes for Chile, with environmental activists hoping it will to bring new protection and indigenous leaders who say they hope it will help to establish a new relationship between their communities and the state.

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