Social Rights in Chile’s Campaigns for a New Constitution

In October of 2019, massive protests against inequality emerged in Chile. Protesters emphasized their inability to access a “dignified life” given their concerns in relation to healthcare, education, pensions, and housing. Over the next several months, more and more Chileans argued for a new social pact as a way out of this crisis. When asked in a plebiscite vote on October 25, 2020 whether or not they wanted a new constitution, 78% voted in favor. Chileans also overwhelmingly voted for a constitutional convention made up entirely of newly elected representatives, rather than including members of Congress. In this paper, I draw on the campaigns leading up to the plebiscite and the election of representatives to the constitutional convention in order to analyze the role of social rights in these campaigns. In particular, I focus on how candidates defined social rights and how central these were in the platforms of the winning candidates.