The European Conservatives and Reformists express their concern at the result of the constitutional reform referendum held in Chile last Sunday. The referendum, announced by President Sebastián Piñera under pressure from left-wing protests of late 2019 and early 2020, has been welcomed with enthusiasm and without surprise by the dictatorial regimes of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. It should be remembered that this referendum was supported by less than 5.9 million voters out of a of 19.9 million. This low turnout is cause for concern.
The ECR Party expresses its concern over the manner in which the referendum was forced, by means of violent pressure from an extreme element in society that risks the stability of one of Latin Americas most prosperous countries. Furthermore, there are claims that the protests which led to the referendum were backed by external actors. Much of the support for the referendum came from outside the country and from nations with questionable records when it comes to the rule of law and democratic legitimacy.
We therefore question the hastiness with which the EPP and S&D signed their statement of support for the result in Chile – given that it is as yet unclear what the outcome of such constitutional changes will be. It is premature to congratulate the people and government of Chile on this result – when so much work is yet to be done in negotiating the replacement constitution.
Nor can we agree with the statement that the consultation has taken place in "a climate of normality" and "an atmosphere of calm", as the joint EPP-S&D declaration maintains, or that it is proof of "democratic maturity". The referendum in Chile took place against the backdrop of ongoing protests and violence – with a great deal of pressure being applied to those who voted. Indeed, just a week before the plebiscite was held, two churches in Santiago de Chile were set fire to and totally destroyed by protestors.
The ECR wishes to express its support for the Chilean people and reiterates its commitment to freedom and democracy in all countries of Latin America, which are today under threat from opposition movements that do not always respect the rule of law. We therefore call on the European Parliament to reconsider its position and to start working now to help in the essential constitutional process towards a firm defense of the values of democracy, freedom, the family, religious freedom and the free market economy. We must prevent the radical groups from undermining democratic societies in Latin American.