With joy we celebrate the creation of the Commission on Popular Participation and Territorial Equity of the Constitutional Convention that will be responsible for visualizing the possible ways to develop a broad, inclusive, decentralized, incident and deliberative process of citizenship in this historic process that we live as a country advancing in democratizing our democracy in co-construction.
10 years ago I wrote a column for this same medium that addressed the deficits of our anodyne democracy, among the points addressed it should be noted that several of them made progress, such as: the existence of a proportional electoral system; the development of public, open and binding state-funded primaries for the selection of candidates; the existence of a limit on the re-election of representatives; automatic voter registration; the vote of Chileans abroad; the direct election of regional councillors and mayors – now called governors; and improve and make transparent the financing of political parties and electoral campaigns. The constituent process opens a space to advance on the issues that are still pending: the existence of a popular bill; the convening of national plebiscites by citizens; the creation of the Ombudsman; changing the high constitutional quorums in the legislative process; and, above all, to have a magna carta that is legitimate in its origin, democratic in its formulation and participatory in its constitution.
To strengthen this process, I would like to emphasize two characteristics that participation should have. First, a multichannel participation is necessary, where the mechanisms of citizen participation to be established consider the standards of participation present in the international literature: incidents in decision-making; inclusive and representative of actors and interests; transparent and with access to information; that asymmetries decrease; timely and relevant to each actor; and to generate collaboration and alliances to amplify its reach. In addition, that they take charge of what has already been advanced and self-convened spontaneously to open new and diverse collective and individual instances.
As a second characteristic is the multilevel participation, where the systematization and traceability of this initial process should accompany the subsequent process of transformation of the rest of the necessary legal bodies after the process of constitutional change. Basically, the translation into a constitutional key of citizen expressions is a first step, and then move forward with those same inputs in the definition of the new laws and regulations associated with their coherence, therefore, it is a participatory process that should include other political actors in their possibilities of advocacy (national government , regional and local in addition to the parliament to be elected in November 2021). Being a commitment to open spaces of deliberative participation to democratize our democracy and rebuild the social pact in coherence.