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Chileans Ponder Option Beyond Yes or No for Constitution Referendum

  • Groups want more than ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ options on ballot
  • Convention leaders say it’s too late for that possibility now
Voting to renew the board of directors for the Constitutional Convention, at the former Chilean National Congress, in Santiago, on Jan. 4, 2022.
Voting to renew the board of directors for the Constitutional Convention, at the former Chilean National Congress, in Santiago, on Jan. 4, 2022.Photographer: Javier Torres/AFP/Getty Images

Chile’s Constitutional Convention has turned so chaotic, with radical proposals raised and mostly rejected, that there is a movement -- nascent but growing -- to offer voters something other than yes or no in the plebiscite over the charter later this year. A third option would be, in effect, “No, but.”

Delegates are struggling to finish the new constitution by their July 4th deadline as politicians of the right and center voice concern over its quality. Some delegates fear that the public’s strong desire for a constitution to replace the one from the dictatorship 40 years ago will lead a majority to accept even a shoddy version.