Chileans vote to throw out the country’s Pinochet-era constitution

On Oct25, an overwhelming majority of Chileans voted to scrap the country’s Pinochet-era constitution and to draft a new citizen-oriented constitution.

The protests started over higher subway prices. But a growing wave of protests followed, and now people in Chile have voted overwhelmingly to throw out their country’s Pinochet-era constitution and create a new document under which to live. Nearly 80% of the voters chose to form a new constitution.

More than 7.5 million people voted, setting a record for voter participation in Chile since at least 1988, according to Servel, the country’s election service. Chile’s population was recently estimated at more than 18 million people, up from an estimated 12.8 million in 1988.

The result threw Chile into a huge celebration. One year after Santiago’s streets were jammed by protesters, they were filled Sunday with revelers, ecstatic over the results of a national plebiscite. There was music and fireworks. Signs declared “Renace Chile” — Chile Reborn.

But the victory didn’t come without a price, at least 30 people died during the protests, and thousands more were injured. Damages to train systems, businesses, and other targets were estimated in the billions of dollars.