(Bloomberg) -- Some of Chile’s wealthiest families are leading political donations to the campaign in favor of a new business-friendly constitution, an attempt to boost the draft’s chances of approval amid broad public opposition.
Total contributions — including private donations and also state funds for campaigns both in favor and against the new charter — reached 3.1 billion pesos ($3.6 million) through Nov. 24, according to data from electoral office Servel. Of that amount, roughly 56% has gone to parties that back the proposal, with the remaining 44% has gone to ones that oppose the document.
Nicolás Ibáñez Scott, who sold his supermarket chain Lider to Walmart in 2008 for almost $3 billion, and his son Nicolás Ibáñez Varela have jointly donated almost 100 million pesos to the right-wing Partido Republicano and Union Democrata Independiente, parties which support the text. Wolf von Appen Behrmann, former chairman of logistics company Ultramar Agencia Maritima Ltda, has given 30 million pesos to the Partido Republicano.
Nicolás Ibáñez didn’t immediately respond a request for comment sent through his assistant. Wolf von Appen didn’t respond a message left through Ultramar’s communications office.
Chileans will vote Dec. 17 in a second referendum on a proposed new constitution in as many years. Polls show they are inclined to reject the latest document, which was drawn up by a council of right-leaning members. President Gabriel Boric has said there won’t be another rewrite if the text is shot down.
Backers of the latest proposal say it will provide legal certainty, boost economic growth and help tackle woes such as crime and clandestine migration. Detractors say the text is divisive, poses risks to abortion rights and also doesn’t fortify public services.
Contributions to parties campaigning against the new constitution have consisted almost entirely in general funding from the state, according to Servel.
Thirty-eight percent of voters will approve the new constitution, up six percentage points from the prior week, while 46% will reject and 16% said they were undecided, according to a Cadem poll published late on Sunday.
A prior attempt at a new charter was overwhelmingly rejected last year amid fears it went too far to the left.
Local newspaper La Tercera reported the campaign donation data earlier.
--With assistance from Paulina Steffens.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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