Santiago, Chile – Gaspar Dominguez briskly walked down the steps of Santiago’s majestic former Congress building into the harsh brightness of the winter sun in downtown Santiago. The 33-year-old medic has spent the past year in the building – now a national monument – writing Chile’s new constitution as part of a 154-strong assembly.
He hugged and congratulated his colleagues who gathered outside; they had just finished drafting the text that could change the course of the country’s history and set precedents for equal rights worldwide.
“On top of social rights, housing rights and education rights, the constitution innovates on matters of equality,” Dominguez told Al Jazeera.
He mentions equal participation quotas for women in public institutions and guaranteeing LGBTQ+ inclusion in political spaces.
“It’s not enough to just say we are all equal, we have to take affirmative action,” he added.
On Monday, the assembly will hand over the finished draft text to President Gabriel Boric before it is made available to the public. Chileans will have two months to review the document and decide its fate in an obligatory referendum on September 4.
Dominguez, who is the assembly’s vice president, hailed the constitution as a democratic victory and is confident with the final result: “We’re very excited about it,” he said.
Calls for a new constitution arose following protests during the Chilean spring of 2019 when millions took to the streets demanding social reform in spite of heavy-handed repression from state forces.
Source : Aljazeera