Since the return of Democracy to Chile 25 years ago, the idea of constitutional reform has constantly been on the mind of the citizenry and the political class. Even though fundamental changes have been implemented along the way, the latest taking place a few months ago with the welcome end of the bi-nominal system, clamour for a new institutional set up is increasing.
How should we channel citizen participation for the design of a new road map and how should we establish a dialogue with movements that demand a change in our political system? These are basic questions when considering a new, more representative institutional arrangement that understands political rights and consolidates a more participative democracy.
New technologies offer unique spaces for channelling ideas and developing experiences that allow us to reach a consensus and dream of a new constitution.
These demands and existing digital opportunities have led to a surprising new venture #TuConstitución (#YourConstitution, tuconstitucion.cl), a digital platform that seeks to generate open public discussion about the need for a fundamental constitutional bill in Chile. The different experts and academics collaborating on the project represent a wide range of ideas and will transform the opinions that appear on the platform into constitutional language as well as providing neutral introductions to each of the issues that must be addressed in a constitution. Thus it is hoped that all the ideas and debates that go into the production of this new bill will arise organically with no preconceived position from the platform itself.
#TuConstitucion offers different spaces that give voice to all Chileans and an actual space for proposals for the design of a new fundamental law. Debating and addressing the questions of whether we should continue with the presidential system or evaluate a parliamentary one or whether we should continue with the structure of a unified state or implement federal reforms, are just a couple of the discussions that the platform invites.
In the ‘Idea’ section, for example, users will be able to publish, support and comment on content that they would like to see included; in ‘Group’ they can create new groups and join discussions where we will find our consensuses and outline our differences while at regular intervals the platform will publish different constitutional debates to incentivize new ideas. The overall process will lead to the production of an extensive document that will include the different opinions expressed by the citizenry, systematized into each of the chapters that a constitution must include. With any luck, when legislation begins on a new constitution this body of ideas will contribute to the definition of the most substantial aspects.
A constitution is like a house where everyone lives, it must shelter every inhabitant without exception so that our rights and duties, the structure of the State, the political regime and its institutions belong to us, interpret us and protect us.
I invite you to take part in this project, build #TuConstitution and contribute to the laying of foundations for our dreams and our future.