Lucas Sierra

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This piece addresses the supermajority legislative requirements in Chile and the constitutional jurisprudence that has developed around them. The argument takes as an assumption that requiring a supermajority for the passage of laws is, in principle, contrary to democratic ideals. This reflects the idea that democratic process cannot require, in principle, for a proposal to pass into law, more than half plus one of the votes that can be cast, that is, the votes of half plus one of the active members of the assembly delegated to take the legislative decision in question. Not the votes of 4/7 of the representatives as is required in Chile for a certain type of laws referred to as Constitutional Organic Laws (Leyes Orgánicas Constitucionales, henceforth LOC). The Chilean case moreover runs further against the idea of democracy understood as majority rule by requiring that modifications to any LOC passed by a 4/7 majority be subjected to the preventive controlabstract – of the Constitutional Court.


Paper presented at SELA 2012 in Mexico City as part of the session on “The Institutions of a Working Democracy.”