Isabel Aninat is fundamentally optimistic that Chilean democracy is headed in a good direction. She is the Dean of the Law School of the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, in Chile and has been a keen observer of the constitution-writing process and, more generally, of Chilean politics. What lessons can others learn from Chile’s efforts to reimagine its democracy?
After the tragedy of the Pinochet years, Chile had evolved into one of the most successful countries in the Americas in economic terms, but perhaps more importantly, in terms of the health of its democracy. Right and left-wing parties and presidents alternated power, the judicial system worked, corruption was low, Chilean political leaders were respected at home and abroad. All of that came to a screeching halt in 2019 when protests escalated into widespread violence.
Chile was suddenly at, what in almost any other country, would have been a revolutionary moment. However, instead of a civil war, the Chileans launched an inclusive political process to write a new constitution. They wanted a fundamental rethink of political rights, obligations, institutions and processes. Fast forward to September of this year, and the new constitution that was three years in the making was overwhelmingly rejected in a national referendum.
What happened and what happens next? What lessons can others learn from Chile’s efforts to reimagine its democracy?
Isabel Aninat, Dean of the Law School of the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, in Chile has been a keen observer of the constitution-writing process and, more generally, of Chilean politics. She is fundamentally optimistic that Chilean democracy is headed in a good direction.
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ABOUT OUR GUEST
Isabel Aninat serves as Dean of the Law School at Chile’s Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI). Previously, she was a researcher at the Centro de Estudios Públicos (CEP). Aninat has co-edited three books and is the author of several articles in the areas of law and public policy. In 2019, Aninat was part of the technical commission that drafted the constitutional reform proposal for the constituent process in Chile. She has a law degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and an LLM from Columbia University. She serves on the Board of International IDEA and various Chilean think tanks and NGOs .