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Elisa Loncón, a Mapuche woman, has been elected to chair the writing of the New Chilean Constitution.
Elisa Loncón, a Mapuche woman, has been elected to chair the writing committee of the New Chilean Constitution.

Elisa Loncón, the Mapuche woman presiding over the Chilean Constituent Convention

With a doctorate in Linguistics and as a professor at the University of Santiago, Loncón has been elected to guide the writing of the new constitution in Chile.

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Since October 2019, important structural changes have been taking place in Chile.

Elisa Loncón, a Mapuche woman, has become a representative of the native peoples and the president of the body that will create the new constitution of the southern country. On Sunday, July 4, Loncón gave an emotional and hopeful speech about the positive change in her country, and the acceptance of her indigenous roots. 

At the inauguration of the Constitutional Convention, Loncón, doctor of Linguistics and professor at the University of Santiago, overcame the simple majority in the second round of voting, and with 96 votes, became president of the Constitutional Convention.

In her speech, she mentioned the dream of re-founding Chile and establishing a plurinational state, in which the political role of women is central.  

"We were always the last in history, today we are reborn together. Thanks to the women of all peoples," she wrote on Twitter. 

Among her duties as chairperson, Loncón will be in charge of defining the order of debate, scheduling the discussions and distributing the work. She will also have to manage to articulate a dialogue in a convention noted for its political diversity. 

In a historic day, after almost three hours of delay, the reporter of the Tribunal Calificador de Elecciones, Carmen Gloria Valladares, made the appointment of 155 convention delegates. The delay was due to a clash between people and the police earlier in the day.

Part of the constituents waited to verify that "there was no repression, no arrests, no injuries".

In addition to being the first constitution in the world in which representatives of indigenous groups participate, it will also be drafted by a parity body. Symbolically, the fact that the constitution, the product of a dictatorship such as that of Augusto Pinochet, was drafted by the groups that were most beaten and repressed during the dictatorship, represents an enormous step towards justice and social reparation. 

The Constituent Convention also stands out for the balance of its composition: 77 women and 78 men. In addition, of the 155 delegates, 48 are independents, 37 are from the right-wing coalition, 17 represent native peoples and the rest are from the left and center-left.

Over the next nine months, the constituents will write the historic new Constitution for Chile. Finally, the result of the new Constitution will be submitted to the verdict of the citizens in 2022.

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