Chile: The Pace Picks Up
President Allende's constitutional reform bill has turned out to be sweeping indeed In addition tonicameral legislature with acapacity to obstruct the executive, the measure published onovember would broaden the President's already extensive powers, make Important changes in the conservative Supreme Court, and nationalize key sectors of the economy now beyond the government's grasp. Some apparently minor features are tailor-made to provide the governing'Popular Unity coalition with new weapons In its quickening effort topolitical power. One, for instance, would legalize the formation of )oint electoral states by parties that agreeormal political
Ttye breadth of the reforms increases the chance jof congressional opposition, but the bill's complexity and vagueness may assist Allende In getting .approval of changes that he most wants. The multiplicity of Items included serves both to placate the demands of his diverse coalition and leave some room for Allende to maneuver into political and popular reaction.
The bill will also help to divert attention from new problems that have risen to complicate the government's task. Copper workersthe big Chuquicamata mine hardly waited for Castro to leave town before they announced their decision to ignore Allende's personal appeal to scale down their demandspercent wage hike.parties areinority position on the union council at Chuquicamata. Thus tar. the government has failed to enlist support of Popular Socialist union leaders who hold the balance of power. The Popular Socialists bolted Allende's Socialist Party several years agoeadership fight but cooperate with the government when It suits their purposes. In this case, they know that it may be crucial to the government to keep wages down and toopper strike, so the price for their cooperation is stiff.
The escalating struggle to avert government control over the University of Chile is another headache. Under the guise ol effecting badly needed reforms at the mushrooming nationalIts coalition-dominated governing council is trying to consolidate tha numerousunits into four divisions that can be dominated from the center. The universityolitical independent with Christian Democratic ties, is leading the fight against the council.university sections have been taken over by ant igovernment forces, others have beenby professors* walkouts. Violence may bring the matteroil. Government slates have been defeated in several student electionswhich may have encouraged opposition forces to unify their efforts In the far moreuniversity Issue. The universityarge role in national Ufa, so victory for Ihe government wouldey contribution to consolidation of tts political posltion.l"
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