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Message from President Michael D. Higgins on the referendum in Chile

Date: Mon 26th Oct, 2020 | 11:44

Message from President Michael D. Higgins on the historic landslide democratic vote in Chile in favour of a new Constitution
that will replace the 1980 Constitution of General Pinochet


“I wish to congratulate the people of Chile on the historic democratic vote which took place yesterday (Sunday, 25th October).

The decision to replace the 1980 constitution which was a source of death, torture and multiple abuses of human rights, is a landmark one. May I wish the people of Chile, and the representatives they choose to take forward in this work, every success in agreeing a new constitution which reflects the wishes, hopes and needs of all citizens and communities the full length of the country. I know, too, that the wish of the great majority is to take forward this work in a climate absent of any and all forms of violence.

I recall with great fondness my own most recent visit to Chile as President in 2012, but in particular I often recall the time when I was as an international observer in Chile for another truly historic vote in 1988 in what was a crucial consultation with the Chilean people on what would have been the continuation of a dictatorship. I was ‘Observador Uno’ to that processo, and watched the voting in Punto Arenas and the count itself in Santiago with, among others, former Minister Muñoz.

As Chile embarks now on a new and peaceful constitutional path, we in Ireland look forward to sharing our own experiences, including on constitutional reform, and to strengthening the partnership and friendship which characterises the warm relations between our two peoples.

I am so pleased that Ireland, which has such a long connection to Chile, continues to enjoy excellent bilateral relations with the Government and people of Chile, relations which will have been deepened by the opening of our first Embassy of Ireland in Santiago last year.

May I also send my regards to all Chileans living in Ireland, and their families.”