Three-quarters of Chilean voters want new constitution: partial count

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chileans have voted overwhelmingly for the country’s Pinochet-era constitution to be redrafted, with more than a third of votes counted from around the nation and abroad, the electoral service said on Sunday evening.

A total of 77.71% had approved the option of a fresh charter to replace one drafted in 1980 during the Augusto Pinochet military dictatorship, compared to 22.29% who voted against with 36% of votes counted, the Servel election authority said.

With 19.5% of the second voting card counted, asking voters if they wanted the new charter drafted by a specially-elected body of citizens to draft the new charter over a mixed convention of lawmakers and citizens, 75.5% picked the former.

As votes were counted on live television around the country, excitement built as citizens streamed towards the capital Santiago’s main squares.

In Plaza Italia, the central hub for protests, a small number of rock-throwing demonstrators clashed with police using tear gas and water canons but they were later replaced by massive crowds in carnival mood letting off fireworks.

Police estimated their numbers at 9 pm local (2400 GMT) at 15,000 people, who wielded green lasers as “rebirth” was beamed in lights on a nearby tower.

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