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Chile reserves seats for indigenous as it prepares to rewrite Constitution

SANTIAGO – Chilean lawmakers late on Tuesday accepted a invoice to reserve 17 of 155 seats for representatives of indigenous communities in its upcoming constitutional conference, a measure lauded as “historic” by the federal government of center-right President Sebastian Pinera.

Chileans in October voted overwhelmingly in favor of rewriting the nation’s dictatorship-era Constitution, in search of to enshrine higher equality in well being care, pensions and schooling. The vote was a central demand of mass protests over inequality in late 2019.

The majority of voters mentioned they needed the brand new constitution to be drafted by a specifically elected physique of residents – cut up equally between women and men – however the preliminary vote didn’t reserve seats for Chile´s indigenous teams.

The laws accepted on Tuesday establishes a set variety of seats for every of the South American nation´s principal indigenous communities. The Mapuche, the most important and best-known indigenous group, are set to obtain 7 of the 17 seats.

“We want to thank Congress and … the Senate in its unanimous vote, for this tremendous historical milestone in recognition of indigenous peoples and for taking a another step towards repaying our historical debt (to them),” Social Development minister Karla Rubilar informed reporters.

The conference will likely be elected in April and have up to a yr to agree to a draft textual content, with proposals accepted by a two-thirds majority. Chileans will then vote once more on whether or not they settle for the textual content or need to revert to the earlier structure.

Among points doubtless to be on the fore of debate are powers of collective bargaining, water, land and indigenous rights and the schooling, pension and healthcare programs.

Around 2.2 million, or 13 %, of the 17 million individuals surveyed in Chile´s 2017 census recognized themselves as indigenous, in accordance to the nation´s National Statistics Institute.

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