This Sunday the Constitutional Convention of Chile was installed, in a first session which was marked by the suspension, for two hours, of the reading of the payroll of the 155 constitutional, for the police repression of the protesters who approached the former National Congress. Once the session was restarted, the first vote began: that of the president of the Convention. There the Mapuche was selected in the second round Elisa Loncón, who had the support of the Broad Front, the Socialist Party and the “non-neutral independents.”

Who is Elisa Loncón

“The Mapuche academic” was the most frequent identification of the local media, these days, to refer to Elisa Loncón, who speaks seven languages ​​and specializes in the analysis of Mapudungun, the language used by the Mapuches.

Loncón is a professor of English at the University of La Frontera, Temuco (Chile), with postgraduate courses at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague (Holland) and at the University of Regina (Canada). He has a master’s degree in linguistics from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Iztapalapa UAM-I (Mexico) and is a PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Leiden (Holland).

He has advised the Ministry of Education and dozens of organizations in Chile, as well as international entities, such as Unesco and the Latin American Institute of Educational Communication. In addition, he conducted multiple investigations on mapudungun.


In the first ballot, Loncón did not get the 78 votes necessary to be elected president of the Convention. It gathered 58, beating the ruling party candidate, Harry Jürgensen, who reaped 36, and Isabel Godoy who, backed by the People’s List, other native peoples and the Communist Party, got 35.

However, between the first and second ballots those who had supported Godoy agreed to give their votes to Loncón, who had 96 supporters, above the 33 for Jürgensen, the 18 for the independent Patricia Politzer and the five that Godoy retained ( among which hers, who voted blank, is not included).

Loncón’s speech

Once the vote was over, Gloria Valladares -reporting secretary of the Elections Qualifying Tribunal- summoned Loncón to preside over the session, which would have a recess and then continue with the election of the vice president.

Loncón, dressed in traditional Mapuche clothing, began speaking in Mapudungun, and then thanked “the support of the different coalitions that gave their trust and placed their dreams on the call made by the Mapuche nation to vote for a Mapuche person, a woman, to change. the history of this country “.

“We are installing here a way of being plural, of being democratic and participatory. Therefore, this convention will transform Chile into a plurinational Chile,” said Loncón, placing the focus on one of the points that will generate tension in the debates of the next months.

“This is a dream of our ancestors, it comes true, it is possible, brothers, to re-found Chile, to establish a new relationship between the Mapuche people, the original nations that make up this country,” he added.

Live, how the Convention continues


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