Voters reject Chile’s proposed constitution

September 5, 2022

Chile’s new proposed constitution was overwhelmingly rejected by voters on Sept. 4. The new constitution would have been one of the world’s most progressive charters and a sharp shift from its market-friendly constitution dating back to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

The local stock market rose by more than 6 percent shortly after the results of the vote as government officials are expected to draft of more moderate version of the constitution.

The old constitution is one of the most market-friendly in the world. The referendum proposed a new one intended to be more egalitarian, establishing universal health care, abortion rights, and dozens of other constitutional and Indigenous rights. Critics said the changes were too drastic. With 92 percent of the ballots tallied on Sept. 4, 62 percent had voted against the new constitution, according to Chile's electoral authority.

“The outcome may force a more moderate and gradual reform impulse,” said JPMorgan’s Diego Pereira in a note to clients, adding that he expected positive market momentum thanks to less uncertainty and lower risk premia ahead, Reuters reported.

“We believe both real and financial investors would prefer that if the current constitution has to be reformed, it’s done by the Congress or a committee of notables.”

Chile is home to global copper giants including Codelco, BHP, Anglo American and Glencore as well as Antofagasta.

The referendum was also seen as an evaluation of the government, which is struggling with buoyant inflation, an economic slowdown and an internal security crisis, according to experts.

Chile’s central bank is expected to raise the benchmark interest rate again this week in the face of persistent inflationary pressures.

After acknowledging defeat, President Gabriel Boric pledged to make adjustments in his government team and work with Congress to draft a new text. Center-left and right-wing parties have also agreed to negotiate.



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