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Last updated: 17 Oct, 2020  

BallotBox.THMB.jpg Chilean govt urges mass participation in Oct 25 referendum vote

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IANS | 17 Oct, 2020
The Chilean government has urged mass participation in the October 25 referendum vote on re-drafting the Constitution, adding that it will be conducted in a safe manner amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plebiscite is a way "to solve our differences through democracy and voting", Xinhua news agency quoted government spokesman Jaime Bellolio as saying in a statement on Friday.

Bellolio emphasized that this is a "very important process and we want there to be the greatest participation and security".

He said the government hopes "that during the weekend, days before the plebiscite, the prevailing climate will not be one of violence, but one of peace, unity and understanding".

In the referendum, voters will be asked to decide whether Chile needs a new constitution and, if the answer is "yes", should the document be drafted by Congress or by a constituent assembly elected solely for that purpose.

Holding the plebiscite was the centrepiece of the political class' effort to defuse the unrest that began in October 2019 with protests against an increase in subway fares in Santiago and quickly grew into a national uprising over the extreme economic inequality prevailing in Chile.

More than 30 people have died in the course of protests, many at the hands of the police, who have been denounced by domestic and international organizations for torturing, sexually assaulting and maiming demonstrators.

Opinion polls have indicated indicate that Chileans will vote overwhelmingly in favour of getting rid of the current constitution, which was enacted in 1980 during the reign of dictator Augusto Pinochet.

 
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