After being approved in the Chamber of Deputies and later rejected in the Senate due to lack of a quorum, the establishment of a Mixed Commission made up of representatives of both chambers was necessary to reach an agreement, which was ratified this Tuesday both in the of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, where it was approved unanimously with 41 votes.
"We did not obtain the optimum, but we have a fundamental step that will be remembered in the history of our country," he said after the vote was the senator of the opposition Socialist Party Alfonso De Urresti.
While for the official Rodrigo Galilea, with this law the indigenous representation "was established in a sensible manner."
The regulations reserve 17 seats for native peoples in the Convention that will draft the new Constitution of Chile, which will replace the one that has been in force since the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). The change was decided by a vast majority of 79% in the plebiscite that took place on October 25.
The 17 quotas will be determined by the Electoral Service (Servel) within the 155 seats to be elected in the electoral districts already established, the same in which the members of the Chamber of Deputies are currently elected.
The Servel will deduct the seats of the districts with the highest proportion of indigenous population.
The Mapuches, the largest Chilean ethnic group, they will have seven seats; two will be for the Aymara people, while the Atacameños, Colla, Rapa Nui, Yámana, Kawashkar, Diaguita, Quechua and Chango peoples will have one representative.
Voters may vote for only one candidate from the town to which they belong and there will be one Special ballot for each of them on voting day, scheduled for next April 11.
The convention will also be equal in terms of gender, and will have an equal number of men and women, as previously agreed.
The legislation was approved in the midst of the conflict for the restitution of lands that the Mapuches consider theirs by ancestral rights today in the hands mostly of forestry companies, and which maintains a constant focus of tension in the region of La Araucanía, about 800 km south of Santiago.
Fires, ambushes and attacks on forestry machinery have become frequent in this region, where radical Mapuche groups have claimed some attacks. Although justice is also investigating setups and cover-up operations by the police.
For the convention, candidates may be candidates who prove their status as belonging to an indigenous people through a certificate issued by the National Corporation for Indigenous Development (Conadi ), while they will be able to vote for the conventional reserved indigenous voters identified by the Servel. Those who do not appear in the registry, can request until the day prior to the election and by means of a sworn statement an authorization to do so.
"The project did not go as the people wanted and it is particularly restrictive of participation that self-identification does not be it before the ballot box but in a special register (…) But 17 is a significant number and allows all peoples to be represented, allowing plurinationality to have a chance, "Mapuche lawyer Salvador Millaleo explained to AFP.  The proposal approved this Tuesday also defined the inclusion of 5% of people with disabilities in the lists for the election of conventional, but rejected a seat for a representative of the Chilean Afro-descendant tribal people, present for several centuries in the extreme regions north of the country.
The leftist opposition initially sought to secure 24 seats for indigenous peoples and one for the Afro-descendant population. In addition to the 155 members contemplated by the Convention.
The governing coalition of President Sebastián Piñera proposed, for its part, 15 seats among the 155 participants.
The indigenous peoples represent about 12% of the total population of Chile, of almost 18 million inhabitants.