Chile’s far-right party wins most seats on constitutional rewrite committee

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Chile's far-right Republican Party finished in first place Sunday in a nationwide vote to choose the 50 members of a committee that will draft a replacement to the country's dictatorship-era constitution, according to an official count.

The Servel election authority reported that with almost all ballots counted, the Republican Party had won 35 percent of the vote, corresponding to 22 seats on the constitutional rewrite committee.

Traditional right-wing parties won a further 21 percent, giving conservatives an additional 11 seats, while the left-wing coalition supported by President Gabriel Boric finished with 29 percent, or 11 committee members.

It is the second time that voters in the South American country have been called to take part in the rewriting of the 1980 constitution, adopted under the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

In September, a previous text produced by a constitutional assembly made up mostly of political independents was rejected by 62 percent of voters.

The results by the far-right Republican Party, which has always opposed the constitutional rewrite process, was "much more than any forecast had expected," Claudia Heiss, head of the Political Science program at the University of Chile, told AFP.

There were 350 people vying to be elected to the 50-member constitutional committee.

"The ideas of common sense have triumphed," said Republican Party leader Jose Antonio Kast, who founded the party in 2019 and lost to Boric in the December 2021 presidential runoff.

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