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The Negotiators A co-production with Doha Debates

Chileans Wanted a New Constitution, but Negotiators Failed Them

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Historically, voters around the world have approved new constitutions 94 percent of the time. What went wrong this time?

When Chileans were asked in a referendum in 2020 whether they wanted a new constitution, the response was overwhelming. The current one dated back to the rule of Augusto Pinochet, the military dictator who had stepped down three decades earlier. Nearly 80 percent of the population voted in favor of a negotiation that would lead to a new charter for the country.

But the negotiation process—which included representatives from the left and right, along with dozens of independents—was rocky from the start. Delegates introduced many lofty ideas, but the actual give-and-take required to produce a consensus was missing. Voters rejected a draft of the new constitution in September—by a large margin.

This week on our podcast The Negotiators, we examine what went wrong, with the help of John Bartlett, a reporter based in Santiago, Chile. Bartlett covered the constitutional convention and interviewed many of the key players.

The Negotiators is a collaboration between Doha Debates and Foreign Policy.

About The Negotiators:  Conflicts don’t just get resolved on their own. Most are settled through a grueling process of give and take, usually behind closed doors. On the new podcast The Negotiators, Foreign Policy is teaming up with Doha Debates to put listeners in the room. Hosted by FP deputy editor Jenn Williams, each episode will feature one mediator, diplomat, or troubleshooter, describing one dramatic negotiation. You’ll hear about a nuclear standoff, a hostage crisis, a gang mediation, and much more: successes and failures that shaped people’s lives.  See All Episodes

More The Negotiators episodes:

The Art of Hostage Negotiations—When You’re the Hostage

A Texas rabbi mediates a life-or-death situation.

Inside the Turbulent Negotiations Over Brexit

One negotiator remained constant throughout the four years of Brexit talks. Hear his story.

Inside the Youth-Led Fight for Peace in Libya

One reporter goes behind closed doors at the Libyan peace talks in Norway.

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

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