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Alemán, Eduardo, and Patricio Navia. “Chile’s Failed Constitution: Democracy Wins.” Journal of Democracy 34, no. 2 (2023): 90-104.


On 4 September 2002, Chileans unequivocally rebuffed a new constitution proposed by an elected convention tasked with replacing the constitution inherited from the military government. The constitution-writing process started with broad support among the population, and in its early days most believed approval would be certain. However, over time, trust in the convention plummeted, and opposition to the content of its proposal soared. This article argues that three reasons explain this outcome: the convention’s proposal was radical and out of sync with most Chileans; its amateurish membership made too many mistakes and failed to course-correct; and the declining popularity of President Gabriel Boric, the most prominent figure in the proreform camp, further damaged the proposal’s fate.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.