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Even if the government withdrew their spurious constitution-making programme, we must not tone down our voice to win a people's constitution.

What is happening in Chile is a great inspiration for us. That country also has an ugly constitution like ours that was amended 15 times during the reign of dictator Pinochet in the 1980s.

On October 25, 2019, people took to the streets to protest for a new constitution, following a call from an alliance of organisations advocating for a new constitution.

The number of people who gathered in Santiago that day was recorded as 1.2 million.

Since then, it has become a street protest programme. The government finally agreed to draft a constitution to prevent the problem from escalating.

The people then called for a referendum to resolve the two fundamental issues related to the constitution.

The government wanted a constitutional amendment and the task of drafting the constitution by a Constituent Assembly headed by Members of Parliament.

However, in October 2020, 78 percent of the people voted in favor of a new constitution.

Another 79 percent had voted that it should be done by a Constituent Assembly that should consist only of people's representatives without members of parliament.

Therefore, an election to elect people's representatives to the Constitutional Council was held on May 15, 16 2021.

The result was, 62% of elected representatives were independents and 49.50% of the elected representatives were women.

It is the world's first legislature in which 50% of women participate in a constitution-making process.

Shouldn't Sri Lanka follow that path too?

 

image 1

Communist party members in Santiago celebrate their victories in the constitutional assembly elections. Photograph: Felipe Figueroa/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

 

image 2

Indigenous Mapuche woman to take lead in drafting Chile's post-Pinochet constitution

 

 

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Victor Ivan

Political critic and senior journalist

(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)