The final tension: Approving to reform and the fear of the “dismantling” of the new Magna Carta

As has been the tenor since the Constitutional Convention was launched more than 10 months ago, the deliberations between the different sectors of the body reach very high degrees of tension the closer the vote by the plenary. The discussion of recent weeks has been no exception.
Although the vote on the Transitional Norms was scheduled to be voted on this Saturday, it will finally be on June 3 when the plenary resolves two conflicting positions, two colliding stories, between those who are about to maintain a low quorum so that Congress can carry out constitutional reforms more easily -in the event that this is approved in the plebiscite of September 4- and those who see in that position a maneuver to twist the popular will that it was an external body and not the Congress that was in charge of defining the new social pact.
Among the first group, some right-wing conventionals stand out and fundamentally from the Collective of the Approval, such as the former parliamentarian Fuad Chain, who propose as an objective the slogan “Approve to reform” in a kind of conditioning to support a text that they do not like; and on the side of the left and center-left, conventionals such as Fernando Atria, Jaime Bassa and Marcos Barraza, among others, anticipate that if the initiative of the 2/3 does not prosper, there could be the paradox that the case of the Legislative Branch -and only as a specific example-, it is the Congress itself that can reform itself, jeopardizing the Convention’s supra-majority decision to establish asymmetrical bicameralism.
The origin of the struggle
Last Thursday, an article agreed on Tuesday by almost the entire center-left inside the space was approved within the commission, with the exception of the Colectivo del Apruebo. This set March 11, 2026 – after the presidential election and the authorities of the new organs of the legislative system in 2025 – as the moment in which “the norms of reform to the Constitution established in this Constitution will enter into force”.
The law adds that during the current legislature, “constitutional reform projects will be approved with the favorable vote of two-thirds of the deputies and senators in office.”
The proposal was approved with 24 votes in favor and 5 against Vamos por Chile and the Colectivo del Apruebo. However, from the calculations made by the different groups, it is suspected that it is a transitory norm that would not get the necessary support in the Plenary, especially due to the dismissals of conventional socialist and independent collectives for a New Constitution or Non-Neutral (INN) that would be about to lower the quorum.
“In the committee we are going to vote in favor, we signed that initial agreement, and we are going to attend without prejudice to the fact that obviously each of the groups has to make a study of this issue and pronounce themselves in the Plenary,” Tomás Laibe, a member of Transitory Norms and the Socialist Collective, said on Thursday before the votes. Making it clear that the quorum of the 2/3 was not in common agreement among the socialists and there would be those who would be about to lower it.
A few hours earlier, the conventional of the Collective of the Agreement, Ricardo Montero, of the Harmonization Commission, without setting a clear position assured Radio Duna that the quorum left “a fairly stony Constitution for four years.”
This Thursday Javier Fuchslocher (INN), who was part of the negotiations that led to the series of transitional provisions on the part of the center-left, said he did not agree with the 2/3. “I think if we have to have a high quorum, but not the level of 2/3. Because inherently there are going to be matters that will need to be reformed in their application so that they are concretized more efficiently,” he argued.
Around constitutional reforms in general (not only for the current legislative system) the draft of the Constitution was left with a very flexible reform rule that only needs a simple majority (more than half of the votes cast). 
Approve to Reform
After the entry this Tuesday from the Commission of Transitory Norms of the proposal that sets at 2/3 the quorum so that the current Congress can make constitutional reforms to the Charter wins if it is approved, an agreement of which they were conventional part of the Socialist Collective, Álvaro Elizalde, senator and current president of the PS, left immediately putting the ghost of rejection first. “If you rigidizes the mechanism of reform of the Constitution, enhancing the option of Rejection.” It should be remembered that the senator was an outspoken opponent of the suppression of the Senate and asymmetrical bicameralism.
That same day Matías Walker, senator of the Christian Democracy (DC), endorsing the position, tweeted: “short life had the approval to reform later.” The conventional Evópoli who was part of the Political System commission when it was still functioning, Hernán Larraín, later wrote: “Approve to reform? Impossible. With the lock of the 2/3 they agreed, the new Constitution ‘is looked at but not touched’.
Thus, the interventions against the quorum of 2/3 multiplied and a concept began to materialize that was around the former Congress a few weeks ago, especially within the Collective of the Approval: “Approve to Reform”, a kind of conditioning to the plebiscite of exit of September 4.
One of the fathers of that idea, also former congressman, Fuad Chain said that the 2/3 “blocks the way for those who evaluate the possibility of approving to reform. Because obviously this text has weaknesses, and I think that you cannot fear the possibility of it being corrected, quite the contrary. The same people who criticized the 2/3 in Pinochet’s Constitution, today defend them so that this constitutional text cannot be modified,” he told El Mostrador on Thursday.
Artificial discussion
According to the constitutional lawyer, Javier Couso, the idea of “approving to reform” is an “artificial” discussion, since according to the expert comparative law shows that the approval of the constitutional draft in the countries that have had these processes, gives it such legitimacy that the changes that parliaments have made have been minuscule, and those that have existed have been rather focused on the implementation of the articles.
However, he assured that according to his point of view, the quorum of constitutional reform should be the same for the current Congress as for the future Legislative System, because the possibility that the first one reforms substantial aspects is minimal product of the legitimacy that an approval delivers (if the constitutional project achieves it in the exit plebiscite on September 4).
He was emphatic in saying that there was an incongruity around the Political System offered by the Convention and that it should be fixed through Harmonization: that parliamentarians – and future regional representatives of the House of Regions – can make constitutional reforms with a quorum of simple majority (the one that remained for most laws).
The risks: dismantling the Chamber of regions
Marcos Barraza (PC) was blunt in condemning the option to approve to reform. “The idea of approving to reform is very misleading because you want to reform institutions that do not yet exist, so clearly that is contrary to the democratic spirit of approving a Constitution,” he said.
From Antofagasta the conventional communist had raised the importance that only the legislative bodies mandated by the Constitution could correct it through reforms to the Constitution, the Congress of Deputies and the Chamber of the Regions, not so the current Congress.
However, on Thursday he explained that to reach the support of the 2/3, that is, 103 votes, it is necessary to “reach agreements and that is at the same time to give a little and also make the points of view prevail”, which led to the initiative presented on Wednesday by the center-left that gives the opportunity to the current parliamentarians to exercise constitutional reforms with a quorum of 2/3.
“Under that predicament (approve to reform) they could dismantle the Chamber of the Regions, without this body having yet been given life and institutionalized,” Barraza warned, sliding the second story that has been heard. The counter-sense that they assure that entails the capacity that Congress can include reforms to the body that comes to replace it (Chamber of the Regions) and the associated risk that they assure that it incites.
Jaime Bassa of the Frente Amplio agreed: “I would like to ask the citizens if it seems sensible for the Senate to decide the continuity of the Senate. Or if the implementation of the Chamber of Regions has to be at the mercy of the current Congress.”

The conventional in an interview with La Segunda said that it must be safeguarded that it is not “the incumbents (who are directly concerned by the new Legislative System)” who modify the Constitution because of the risk that there could be the possibility, according to the conventional, that they prioritize their own interests.
Fernando Atria of the Harmonization Commission, said in an interview with El Mostrador that “if the Convention proposes a text and is approvedI think the possibility that it can be easily modified by Congress is unreasonable.”
Jeniffer Mella (FA), a member of Transitory Norms, assured El Mostrador that the logic of a greater quorum for constitutional reforms has to do with the fact that “the Constitution of ’80 will remain in force in how the authorities exercise their mandates. The new authorities that will begin to take effect in 2026 begin with the quorum on constitutional reforms of the 2022 Constitution.”
In addition, according to the convention, the quorum of 2/3 “is an invitation to Congress to implement the new Constitution and in the presence of fundamental matters to change, agreements will be reached as was done in almost 500 articles in the Constitutional Convention.”
He described as positive the slogan “approve to reform”. “It seems to me that passing for whatever is necessary.” In this way, she pointed out that they hope that before reforming the current Magna Carta, Congress will focus on “implementing”, however, she was emphatic in saying “the power to approve will obviously lead in the future to constitutional reforms”.
The replenishment of the quorum of 4/7
 On Thursday, the conventional Ricardo Montero said that the quorum of 2/3 for constitutional reforms that the Transitory Norms Commission for the current Congress seeks to implement “must talk with a decision that we have to take in the Harmonization Commission, which is whether we will be able to replace a quorum of constitutional reform or not.”
The transitory norm that is promoted, was born from the concern that aroused within some groups the fact that the constitutional reforms were left with a quorum of simple majority (more than half of the votes cast) in the draft of the Constitution, added to the idea that the quorum for the processing of laws – not so the attributions of the new legislative organs – begin to govern immediately if the new Constitution.
The exception is in reforms that involve “substantial” changes in issues such as “the political regime and the presidential term; the design of the Congress of Deputies or the Chamber of the Regions and the duration of its members; the form of Regional State; fundamental principles and rights, and the chapter on reform and replacement of the Constitution”. When these articles are to be modified, a ratification referendum will be required, and the only way to dispense with that plebiscite is to approve the constitutional reform with a quorum of 2/3 of both chambers.
Why were the constitutional reforms left with a quorum of simple majority? The rule that set the quorum for constitutional reforms at 4/7 was rejected for also referring to the mechanism of insistence of the Congress of Deputies over the Chamber of the Regions, a point that the Collective of Approval and others refused to support.
“I would hope that this could be corrected in Harmonization, raising the quorum of approval of these constitutional norms at least to the qualified majority, which is the majority of the members, or to 4/7, which was the original proposal,” Fernando Atria (FA) told El Mostrador. Initiative with which they also agree in the Socialist Collective and the Collective of the Approval, the same Fuad Chahin spoke of the need for this correction.
Cristián Monckeberg (RN) argued that the quorum for constitutional reforms should be the same both for the current Congress and for the future legislative system proposed by the Constitution. “I think the quorums have to be similar in this one, in the next one, and in future congresses. That of making adjustments now high quorum, tomorrow lower, does not seem to me, “he said.  
However, the changes that can be made through this commission will depend on what the board of directors dictates about the interpretation of the regulation, since it dictates that the main objective of the Harmonization Commission is to make a general and detailed review of each standard of the draft text, to ensure its technical quality and coherence, detecting possible omissions, inconsistencies, contradictions, repetitions or misspellings. 
“The issue is how far we can go. What is the upper limit of the powers of Harmonization and therefore, what the board of directors says today is decisive, “said Amaya Álvez on Thursday.
Lawyer Javier Couso was invited to the Harmonization Commission to explain why, according to him, there is an incongruity between the articles of the draft that would make possible the reinstatement of a quorum for constitutional reforms.  
He argued that there is a “contradiction between, on the one hand, the ‘Principle of Constitutional Supremacy’ (in Article 15 of the draft) and, on the other, the absence of a general quorum of constitutional reform.that it is more difficult to approve than that established for common legislation”.

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