Chilean voters overwhelmingly back rewriting their constitution

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October 26, 2020 - 9:14 AM

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest against President Sebastian Pinera's government, in Santiago, Chile, on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. Photo by (Claudio Reyes/AFP Getty Images/TNS)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Amid a year of contagion and turmoil, Chileans turned out Sunday to vote overwhelmingly in favor of having a constitutional convention draft a new charter to replace guiding principles imposed four decades ago under the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

The country’s conservative government had agreed with the center-left opposition to allow the plebiscite after the outbreak of vast street protests that erupted a year ago in frustration over inequality in pensions, education and health care in what has long been one of South America’s most developed nations.

The Electoral Service said Sunday night that with nearly all polling stations reporting, about 78% of the 7.4 million votes counted favored drawing up a new constitution, while just under 22% were opposed. About 79% supported having the charter be drafted by a convention of 155 elected citizens rather than a convention with half its members elected citizens and half members of congress.

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