In an October 2020 referendum, nearly 80 percent of Chileans voted to start a process to write a new constitution. A special assembly with equal representation of men and women will now attempt to replace the 1980 dictatorship-era constitution. Getting to this point was a major win for workers, students, leftists, feminists, Indigenous peoples, and the poor, all of whom were involved in leading 2019’s widespread protests over social and economic inequality. The demonstrations forced the conservative government to make the concession of holding the referendum. Chile now embarks on the fraught process of writing a new constitution that must satisfy diverse stakeholders while reforming political and economic systems that have preserved the legacy of the Pinochet dictatorship.
If the Bachelet government is to usher in a new, more truly representative democracy, Chile will need to leave behind not just the trappings of Pinochet's institutional legacy, but also the model of elitist politics that it spawned.