Decentralization: Is there room for progress in the current constitutional process?

A proposal for a new constitution was rejected last September that included concepts among its central axes such as the regional state, the Council of Regions and regional autonomy.

On the contrary, the current constitutional process establishes within its twelve rules the character of a unified and decentralized state. In addition, the panel of experts – which is currently taking place – has been criticized for the dominance of voices from the metropolitan area at the expense of regional specialists.

In this scenario, the election of the members of the Constitutional Council appears as an opportunity to resume the dialogue on decentralization.

Analyst from Corbiopio Observatory, Ariel Evenes, raised the need to address this from a long-term perspective and emphasized that, although ‘substantial progress’Such as electing governors and members of regional councils and transferring some powers and authorities in general “It is a rather slow process, it is very difficult for the regions to bring their issues to the central government, and it was no different this time.”.

“The demand for a more decentralized state, with a more balanced regional development, is a consistent demand.”he added.

Regional government, local governments and presidential delegates

Among the priority elements is the strengthening of regional governments, the analyst said. “With greater capabilities, clearer budgets and financing, in addition to transferring officials from central governments to strengthen them.”.

He added that this process must take into account local governments in parallel, “To prevent centralization from replicating within regions”.

With regard to presidential delegates, a number that experts were in favor of retaining in the constitution, Evenis stressed that despite their abolition “abrupt” He can generate difficulties, his presence strikes at the lack of clarity as to his powers and called for termination “guarded decentralization”.

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regional representation

Biobío will select three members of the Constitutional Council, a number considered low based on the size of this region. For Evenes, the key question is what’s behind the number of actors in the area Why are regional issues not progressing?.

Finally, the academician noted that the central focus of decentralization passes «Overcoming the centralization of the cultural nature that we have. It is not just a central or state government issue, it is an element that we have to address socially and culturally as a country ».

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Myrtle Frost

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