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(10/02/06) -

Chileans Slowly Becoming More Liberal

- The point of view of Chileans on some controversial topics has changed dramatically since 1990, according to a poll by MORI. 60 per cent of respondents believe divorce is justified, up 25 points in 16 years.

- The point of view of Chileans on some controversial topics has changed dramatically since 1990, according to a poll by MORI. 60 per cent of respondents believe divorce is justified, up 25 points in 16 years.

In addition, 49 per cent of respondents think homosexuality is justified, and 38 per cent feel the same way about euthanasia. Prostitution and abortion had the lowest levels of support, at 35 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.

In September 1973, Augusto Pinochet led a coup d’etat to bring down the government of Salvador Allende. Pinochet abolished all political parties, and curbed civil and human rights. In 1988, Pinochet was defeated in a nationwide referendum on whether he should remain as Chile’s head of state. The general ruled the country until 1990, when free democratic elections were once again held in Chile.

Chile has been traditionally regarded as one of the most conservative countries in the Americas. In May 2004, Chilean president Ricardo Lagos authorized a law that allows divorce in the South American country for the first time. Homosexuality was legalized in 1998, but the country does not have an anti-discrimination law pertaining to sexual orientation.

On Sept. 2, Chile’s Health Ministry authorized public clinics to provide the morning-after pill—which can be administered within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse to prevent a pregnancy—to girls older than 14.

Polling Data

Do you think (the following) are justified?
(Positive responses only)

2006

1990

Divorce

60%

35%

Homosexuality

49%

18%

Euthanasia

38%

27%

Prostitution

35%

18%

Abortion

26%

18%

Source: MORI
Methodology: Interviews with 1,000 Chilean adults, conducted from Jul. 14 to Jul. 24, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.