(Bloomberg) -- Chile voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to draft a new constitution, launching a two-year struggle over first principles expected to blunt the neo-liberalism that has made it an investor favorite but plunged it into riots over inequality.With 87% of votes counted, a larger-than-expected 78.2% backed a fresh charter, a key demand of protesters who took to the streets last year in the largest civil unrest in decades. The current document dates back to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.The result sets off almost two years of debate and uncertainty before a final vote on a new charter. Many investors fear that a new constitution means Chile will do away with the pro-business rules and fiscal discipline they say created one of Latin America’s most stable and prosperous economies. Protesters say that model -- enshrined in the current charter -- has left millions grappling with low wages, poor social services and injustices.“This plebiscite is not the end, it is the start of a road that we must travel together to agree a new constitution for Chile,” President Sebastian Pinera said in a national address Sunday evening.The referendum was one of several concessions that the government and lawmakers agreed to in order to quell riots that started last October. Sparked by a metro fare increase, the protests quickly spiraled into a broader social movement with grievances ranging from pensions to education. While pandemic-fighting lockdowns kept a lid on tensions most of this year, violent protests flared up again in recent weeks.Read more: Protesters Clash With Chile Police, Burn Church in SantiagoAbout 80% of voters also backed a constitutional convention of newly elected representatives to write up the charter, rather than a mixed convention with 50% of existing lawmakers.“This isn’t a triumph for political parties,” Paulina Astroza, a political analyst from Universidad de Concepcion, said in via Twitter. “Parties will have a huge challenge: they must modernize, clean up, be transparent, allow new leaderships and end with” their strongman tactics.What’s at Stake in Chile Debate Over New Constitution: QuickTakeAfter renewed violence in the run-up to the referendum, voting was peaceful and orderly, with many people lining up for hours to cast their ballot.Thousands later congregated at Plaza Italia, the Santiago square that has become the symbolic center of the protest movement, to celebrate. After initially using water cannons to deter the protesters, the police withdrew.“Until now the constitution has divided us,” Pinera said. “As of today, we must all collaborate so that the new constitution be a great framework for unity, stability and the future.”Two ThirdsChileans will vote again in April to elect delegates to the assembly in charge of writing the new text. To avoid more radical viewpoints from making it into the constitution, legislators agreed on a clause that all articles must be approved by two-thirds of the assembly members.Still, the difficulty in meeting that threshold means Chile could end up “with an excessively abbreviated constitution that would likely fail in bringing greater political stability,” Leonardo Suarez, head of research at brokerage firm LarrainVial, wrote in a report last week.Amid the constitutional process, Chile will also hold a presidential election in November 2021. With the center-left opposition deeply divided and the current government unpopular, the outcome is far from clear.On expectations that a peaceful vote may quell some of the unrest, some investors have started to bet again on the Chilean market.“While the medium-term political uncertainty on the back of the constitutional process and presidential election in 2021 might continue to cap market performance, we do believe that the momentum for the Chilean market is positive,” JPMorgan analyst Diego Celedon said in a note last week.(Updates with new count of vote in second paragraph and analyst in seventh paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.