Santiago, Chile (CNN)In the past few weeks, Daniela Jorquera, a 55-year-old Chilean sociologist who defines herself as progressive, started going to rallies to support adopting a new constitution.
Chile is voting on one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. But consensus is crumbling
"I saw a lot of young people, families. There was music and colorful flags; it had nothing to do with the political confrontation we see in the news everyday," she said.
When she walked back to her car, Jorquera, who lives in Santiago, said she felt full of hope. "I thought: we will win, how can we not?"
Yet, like most Chileans, she knows that certainty is precisely what Chile lacks these days.
On Sunday, polls opened in the country to allow Chileans to decide on whether to adopt a new proposed constitution, one that was originally conceived to fix the country's stark inequality. The country's current constitution was written during Augusto Pinochet´s dictatorship and -- despite many amendments -- most Chileans say it lacks legitimacy and is too free-market oriented.
Protests and social upheaval in 2020 forced then-president Sebastien Piñera to call a referendum on creating a new constitution, the final draft of which was submitted to Piñera's successor, leftist Gabriel Boric, this year.
But although 78% of Chilean voters supported the idea of constitutional change back in October 2020 entry referendum, today they appear divided on the draft proposed.
Soon after the draft was made public last July, different polls began showing an increasing trend toward the rejection of the charter, with the government publicly recognizing that scenario.
In a Twitter post hours before the polls opened, Boric said on Saturday night: "In Chile, we resolve our differences with more democracy, never with less. I am deeply proud that we have come this far."
The constitutional process has been praised internationally for giving the country an institutional way out of a social crisis, and for responding to modern Chileans' demands for more equality and a more inclusive and participatory democracy.
The constitutional assembly convened to rewrite the constitution was the first in the world to have full gender parity, and the first in the country´s history to include designated seats for indigenous representatives. It included a majority of independents reflecting Chileans' distrust in traditional parties -- and was more representative of the country´s diversity.
If approved, Chile's constitution would become one of the most progressive in the world, giving the state a front-line role in the provision of social rights. The draft puts a strong emphasis on indigenous self-determination and on the protection of the environment; the highly privatized water rights system will be dismantled, among other things. Gender equality will be required in all public institutions and companies, and the respect for sexual diversity is also enshrined.
But the project has become bitterly divisive for some. The right argues the draft would shift the country too far left, or that it is too ambitious and difficult to turn into efficient laws, and even some of its supporters on the left want adjustments to be made, with their slogan "approve to reform."
Conservatives have led an aggressive campaign against the constitutional change, accusing the Boric administration of electoral interventionism. His left-wing government is currently under administrative investigation by the Chilean comptroller general over allegations it used a public information campaign about the referendum to advocate in favor of the new constitution. The comptroller separately found that the Minister Secretary General of the Presidency, Giorgio Jackson had failed to respect the principle of non-interventionism required before the referendum.
Boric responded to those allegations telling the press that the government would cooperate with the investigation and that his administration's actions are is "in no case interventionism, but rather information dissemination."
A large part of the center-left has also become wary of the document and called to reject it. Cristián Warnken, a well-known literature professor and television interviewer, is