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Following the recent recommendation of its Comisión de Gobierno, the Chilean Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would declare 2 additional public holidays; on Friday, September 17, and Monday, September 20, 2010.
The origin of the aforementioned bill dates from a year ago (2009-05-29), when a group of Chilean parliamentarians from the UDI, PPD, as well as some independents, introduced legislation (Boletín 6483-17) that would make Friday, September 17, and Monday, September 20, 2010, one-off public holidays, to compensate the fact that, in 2010, Chile is celebrating its bicentennial, and that this year's 2-day annual fiestas patrias (September 18-19) fall on a Saturday and a Sunday.
In the spring (2010-05-04), Chile's President announced that he had sent a bill (Boletín 6919-06) to Chile's Congress to make Monday, September 20, 2010, a one-off public holiday to compensate the fact that this year's 2-day annual Fiestas Patrias public holidays falls on a Saturday and a Sunday.
A couple of weeks later (2010-05-13), the Comisión de Gobierno Interior de la Cámara de Diputados approved a bill (Boletín 6929-06) which would declare Friday, September 17, 2010, as a one-off public holiday, instead of the presidentially-proposed date of Monday, September 20, 2010.
This was followed a couple of weeks later (2010-06-02), by Chile's lower house of Parliament (Cámara de Diputados) passing a modified version of a bill (Boletin 6919-06) that would declare September 17 and September 20, 2010, as additional public holidays to coincide with the upcoming Chilean Bicentennial.
The bill passed by the Senate now goes back to the lower house for reconciliation, where the main outstanding difference between the 2 bills is how many of the 4-day public holidays will have stores force to remain closed. Reconciliation is expected to happen uneventfully.
The final stage, however, Presidential approval, is not so obvious. Until recently, President Piñera had been firmly opposed to the declaration of 2 additional public holidays, following on the heels of the recent massive Chilean earthquake. But, his position might be softening up; in a statement after the Senate vote, the ministro secretario general de la Presidencia, Cristián Larroulet, is now leaving its options open (veremos que hacemos en los próximos dias).
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