SANTIAGO – Seventy-one percent of Chileans think the country needs a new constitution, according to poll results released Monday, days after President Michelle Bachelet launched an initiative to replace the charter imposed in 1980 by then-dictator Augusto Pinochet.
More than half of the people surveyed by pollster Plaza Publica-Cadem said creating a new constitution should be a priority.
“The current constitution had its origin in dictatorship, it does not respond to the demands of our times nor does it promote democracy,” Bachelet said last week.
She said the drafting of a new charter might be entrusted to a panel including members of both house of Congress; a convention of lawmakers and a citizens; or to a specially elected constituent assembly.
The president suggested the possibility of holding a referendum to let voters decide on which path to follow.
The idea for a referendum won support from 62 percent of respondents in the Plaza Publica-Cadem survey, while 50 percent said they were ready to take part in the “citizen dialogues” touted by Bachelet.
The president envisions an eventual congressional vote on the new draft constitution in 2017, following the first legislative elections to be held under recently passed laws designed to make Congress more representative and to eliminate campaign finance abuses.
Plaza Publica-Cadem surveyed 709 adults nationwide over the period Oct. 14-16 and the poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percent.