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World Chileans head to the voting stations for historic constitutional vote

12:50  25 october  2020
12:50  25 october  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chileans will go to the polls on Sunday to vote on whether they want to swap a Voters will approve or reject the drafting of a new constitution . Uniquely in Chilean history Stringent security and sanitary measures have been rolled out in 2,715 polling stations across the

A worker arranges a voting booth inside a polling station during a voting simulation ahead of the upcoming SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chileans will go to the polls on Sunday to vote on whether they want to swap "This is a historic time Chilean workers and all its citizens are living through," he said.

By Aislinn Laing

a group of people sitting at a table: Models of ballot papers are seen inside a polling station during a voting simulation ahead of the upcoming referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago © Reuters/IVAN ALVARADO Models of ballot papers are seen inside a polling station during a voting simulation ahead of the upcoming referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chileans will vote on Sunday on whether they want the country's Pinochet-era constitution torn up and replaced by a fresh charter drafted by citizens, a key demand in protests that erupted last year.

The fiery anti-government protests over inequality and elitism in one of Latin America's most advanced economies broke out last fall and resumed with the easing of coronavirus lockdowns.

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Chileans will go to the polls on Sunday to vote on whether they want to swap a constitution written during the Pinochet dictatorship with a new document A new constitution was a key demand of demonstrators engaged in sometimes violent mass social protests that broke out in October last year

Chileans famously voted to end the 17-year dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in a 1988 plebiscite. The current constitution was drafted by Pinochet’s close Stringent security and sanitary measures have been rolled out in 2,715 polling stations across the nation of 18 million. Victor Perez, Chile ’s interior

Voters have 12 hours beginning at 8 a.m. (1100 GMT) to cast their ballot.

Citizens can decide whether to approve or reject a new constitution and whether it should be drafted by a specially elected citizens' body, made up half of women and half of men, and indigenous representatives, or a mix of citizens and lawmakers.

a man standing next to a building: Soldiers patrol inside a polling station ahead of the upcoming referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago © Reuters/IVAN ALVARADO Soldiers patrol inside a polling station ahead of the upcoming referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago

Opinion polls suggest a new charter will be approved by a significant margin.

All eligible Chileans from the country's population of 18 million are automatically registered to vote, but voting is optional.

People with COVID-19 have been told to stay away from voting stations on threat of arrest and prosecution.

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A worker arranges a voting booth inside a polling station during a voting simulation ahead of the SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chileans will go to the polls on Sunday to vote on whether they want to swap a constitution "This is a historic time Chilean workers and all its citizens are living through," he said.

A constitutional referendum was held in Chile on 11 September 1980. The proposed new constitution would replace the 1925 constitution , and was approved by over two-thirds of voters . The new constitution ensured that Augusto Pinochet could remain as President of the Republic for a

Control points have been set up at least 20 meters (22 yards) from polling place entrances where officials will conduct identity spot checks to ensure people are not on the quarantine list.

"The right to vote of an infected subject puts at risk the right to health of thousands of people," Attorney General Jorge Abbott told regional staff in an email.

a person standing in front of a building: Workers carry sections of voting booths inside a polling station ahead of the upcoming referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago, © Reuters/IVAN ALVARADO Workers carry sections of voting booths inside a polling station ahead of the upcoming referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago,

Soldiers, ubiquitous on Chilean streets since the declaration of a state of emergency during the protests last year and again with the outbreak of COVID-19 in March, will oversee the process inside polling stations while police will guard outside.

a close up of a pier: A worker places voting booths inside a polling station ahead of the upcoming referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago © Reuters/IVAN ALVARADO A worker places voting booths inside a polling station ahead of the upcoming referendum on a new Chilean constitution in Santiago

The current constitution was drafted by dictator Augusto Pinochet's close adviser Jaime Guzman in 1980, and has only been tweaked by successive governments to reduce military and executive power.

(Reporting by Aislinn Laing; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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