Australia rejected this Saturday in a referendum a proposal to modify the 1901 Constitution, which had the objective of creating a consultative body that would give indigenous people a voice before the Legislature and the Executive in matters that concern them.

With more than 70% of the vote, the No wins with 59.8%, while the Yes obtains 40.2% and, in addition, wins in at least five of the six states of the country, according to the preliminary results of the Australian Electoral Commission.

According to the regulations on referendums in Australia, for the constitutional amendment to be successful it had to achieve the majority of the votes cast in the nation and also have achieved victory in four of the six states that make up Australia.

The count began after the closing of more than 8,000 polling stations at 6:00 p.m. (07:00 GMT) in several jurisdictions on the Australian east coast, after ten hours of work.

The proposal for the recognition of indigenous people was an electoral promise of the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and was part of the Uluru Declaration from the Heart, which was born in 2017 after an indigenous convention that proposed constitutional changes.

As the preliminary results were revealed, Albanese, who called the result a significant setback, said it was “a tough night” for many indigenous Australians.

“Although tonight’s result is not what I expected, I absolutely respect the decision of the Australian people and the democratic process that made it,” said the president at a press conference in the Parliament of Canberra, his voice breaking. occasions.

Albanese had asked his compatriots this Saturday to make “history” in the referendum and vote Yes at the beginning of voting day in Australia, the only industrialized nation with a colonial past that does not recognize indigenous people in its Constitution.

However, this constitutional change was a difficult task, since in the 44 previous referendums held in Australia, only eight were successful, including the one in 1967, in which 91% of Australians supported the proposal to legislate to include indigenous people in population censuses.

Polls before the vote had already pointed to opposition to the proposal, with concerns expressed about its possible impact on society and doubts about how the body would operate.

“Be proud of the 65,000 years of history and culture of which you are a part, and of your rightful place in this country. We will move forward, advance and prosper,” stressed today, overcome with emotion, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney.

Indigenous people represent 3.8% of Australia’s more than 26 million inhabitants.

Through this initiative, the Government proposed creating an organization made up of members elected by indigenous communities called La Voz, to offer independent advice to the Executive and Parliament on matters linked to indigenous peoples and thus give them greater participation in the decision-making process. of decisions.