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Chile Constitutional Assembly Knocks Back Ambitious Environmental Proposals | World News

By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda, Alexander Villegas

SANTIAGO (Reuters). -The Chilean Constitution Convention rejected a set of proposals that would have increased environmental protections, especially in the major mining sector. This will be a blow to reformers who will send the articles back again to the committees to be reworked.

“Regrettably our commission’s…” [full proposal]After the vote, Camila Zarate (coordinator of the environmental commission) told reporters that the vote was rejected. “We regret that.” [the assembly]It gave its back citizens, communities, the populations, and territories who have been mobilizing for many years to make these great constitutional changes.”

Juan Jose Martin was the other coordinator of the commission. He said he regretted the rejection of the entire set because it didn’t give the commission feedback on which proposals constituents disagreed with.

Martin Arrau is a constituent and civil engineering who led a water reform campaign. He said he voted no because he felt they would hamper growth and that others were not within the constitutional jurisdiction.

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Arrau stated that law and public policy must regulate hydrological sources and basins after the vote. “If we don’t, how will we have judicial or public frameworks that adapt to the variability in water sources?”

The debate began at 12 p.m. GMT (1600 GMT). For more than six hours, constituents gave passionate speeches about environmental rights, damage from extractive activities like mining, forestry, and the consequences of Chile’s recent drought.

On Tuesday, constituents were expected vote on 52 articles that included protecting water sources and glaciers as well as wetlands. Voting began but constituents rejected it all. They blocked voting on individual articles, and sent it back at the commission for revisions.

The super-majority required to approve the proposal and articles is 103 votes. Thursday’s set was rejected by 98 votes.

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After protests against inequality in Chile in 2017, Chileans overwhelmingly voted to draft a new Constitution in 2020. However, political infighting and controversial ideas have caused a drop in support.

The assembly has until May to approve articles and July to complete the draft. On Sept. 4, Chileans will vote on whether to approve or deny the new constitution.

If it is rejected by voters, Chile will continue with its current market-oriented constitution. This constitution dates back to Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship over three decades ago.

(Reporting by Natalia Ramos & Alexander VillegasEditing By Alistair Bell & Leslie Adler

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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