Politics of Chile

Chile's government is a representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Chile is both head of state and head of government, and of a formal multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the president and his or her gabinet. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the National Congress. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature of Chile. The Constitution of Chile was approved in a national plebiscite in September 1980, under the military government of Augusto Pinochet. It entered into force in March 1981. After Pinochet left power in 1988, saying this country was ready to keep going along with a plebiscite, the Constitution was amended to ease provisions for future amendments to the Constitution. In September 2005, President Ricardo Lagos signed into law several constitutional amendments passed by Congress. These include eliminating the positions of appointed senators and senators for life, granting the President authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces, and reducing the presidential term from six to four years while also disabling immediate re-election. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Chile as "flawed democracy" in 2016.[1]


The autocratic and conservative republic (1831-1861) was replaced by the liberal republic (1861-1891) during which some political conquests were made, such as proportional representation (1871) and the abolition of the condition of ownership to have the right to vote (1885)

Parliamentary Republic

When the era of the parliamentary republic began in 1891, the struggle between liberals (pipiolos) and conservatives (pelucones) had already evolved due to the emergence of a multi-party system. In the 1880s, the Liberals split into two factions: the moderates, who did not want to impose secularism too quickly and were willing to compromise with the Conservatives, and the radical Liberals, who joined the Radical Party founded in 1862 or the new Democratic Party with more progressive, if not socialist, ideas.

European and particularly British companies having appropriated a large part of the country's economy (saltpeter, bank, railway, trade), President José Balmaceda (1886-1891), leader of moderate liberals, decided to react by directing his policy in two directions: the nationalisation of saltpeter mines and the intervention of the State in economic matters. Already facing the conservative aristocracy, he alienated the bankers. He was dismissed by a vote of Parliament and pressure from part of the army. He committed suicide by firearm at the end of the civil war that his supporters lost.

Workers' struggles and social reforms

A new parliamentary regime emerged from the civil war; it was the government of Fronda aristocrática. From 1906 onwards, the Radical Party demanded social reforms and the establishment of a democratic regime. That same year, the leader of the Federation of Workers, Luis Emilio Recabarren, was elected to the House but his election was cancelled by the House. In 1912 he founded the Socialist Workers Party.

Despite the country's good economic performance, life remains particularly hard for a large part of the population (12 or 14-hour working days for workers, very low wages, illiteracy of more than 50% in the years 1900-1910, etc.). A trade unionism was organized and fought; strikes and workers' demonstrations multiplied, sometimes very harshly repressed: general strike in Santiago (1905), railways and mines in Antofagasta (1906), demonstration in Iquique (1907). From 1911 to 1920, there were 293 strikes1. Some repressions kill hundreds of people. The workers' movement was organized in the 1910s with the creation of the Chilean Regional Workers' Federation in 1913 and the Chilean branch of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1919.

In 1920, the economic crisis worsened the standard of living of the middle classes, which were politically closer to the working classes. This new situation led to the election of Arturo Alessandri Palma. During his first term in office, he pursued a progressive policy: labour law, establishment of the tax on property income, establishment of the Central Bank, creation of social security funds, etc. However, it must constantly deal with the Senate, always under Conservative control, which systematically tries to block its reforms. Shortly before his withdrawal from power, he drew up a new Constitution that was considered to be the advent of true democracy in Chile. This Constitution enshrines the separation of Church and State and religious freedom, declares compulsory primary education, restores presidentialism but by electing the president by universal suffrage, and above all proclaims that property must be regulated in such a way as to ensure its social function.[2]

Legislative branch

The bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional) consists of the Senate (Senado) and the Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados).

Chile's congressional elections replaces the binominal electoral system applicable to the parliamentary elections, by one of an inclusive proportional nature and strengthens the representativeness of the National Congress (D'Hondt System).

Elections are very labor-intensive but efficient, and vote counting normally takes place the evening of the election day. One voting table, with a ballot-box each, is set up for at-most 200 names in the voting registry. Each table is manned by five people (vocales de mesa) from the same registry. Vocales have the duty to work as such during a cycle of elections, and can be penalized legally if they do not show up. A registered citizen can only vote after his identity has been verified at the table corresponding to his registry. Ballots are manually counted by the five vocales, after the table has closed, at least eight hours after opening, and the counting witnessed by representatives of all the parties who choose to have observers.

The Senate is made up of 50 members elected from regions or subregions. Senators serve approximately eight-year terms.

The Chamber of Deputies has 155 members, who are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The last congressional elections were held on November 19, 2017. The next congressional elections are scheduled for December 2021.

The current Senate composition is as follows: 36 seats are held by the Progressive Convergence coalition: seven Socialists (PS), seven Party for Democracy (PPD) and one Social Democrat Radical Party (PRSD); 6 by the Democratic Convergence coalition: Six Christian Democrats (PDC); 17 by the Chile let's go coalition: nine Independent Democratic Union (UDI) and eight National Renewal (RN); and two Politic Evolution (EVOPOLI); 1 by Broad Front coalition: One Democratic Revolution (RD); 1 by Throughout Chile coalition: One Country (PAIS); and 1 independent.

The current lower house—the Chamber of Deputies —contains: 65 members of Progressive Convergence coalition: nineteen Socialists (PS), seven Party for Democracy (PPD), eight Social Democrat Radical Party (PRSD) and three independent pro Progressive Convergence; 8 by the Chilean Communist Party; 14 by the Democratic Convergence coalition: fourteen Christian Democrats (PDC); 71 by the Chile let's go coalition: twenty seven Independent Democratic Union (UDI), thirty-three National Renewal (RN); four Politic Evolution (EVOPOLI), and seven independent pro Chile let's go; 4 from the Regional Green Socialist Federation (FRVS); 20 by Broad Front coalition: eight Democratic Revolution (RD), two Liberal Party (PL), 1 Humanist Party (PH), one Green Environmentalist Party (PEV), one Power (PODER), and five independent pro Broad Front; 1 by Throughout Chile coalition: Progressive Party (PRO); and 2 independent.

Since 1987, the Congress operates in the port city of Valparaíso, about 110 kilometers (~70 mi.) northwest of the capital, Santiago. However some commissions are allowed to meet in other places, especially Santiago. Congressional members have tried repeatedly to relocate the Congress back to Santiago, where it operated until the Chilean Coup of 1973, but have not been successful. The last attempt was in 2000, when the project was rejected by the Constitutional Court, because it allocated funds from the national budget, which, under the Chilean Constitution, is a privilege of the President.

Legal system

Chile's legal system is civil law based. It is primarily based on the Civil code of 1855, derived from Spanish law and subsequent codes influenced by European law of the last half of the 19th Century. It does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

From the year 2000 onward, Chile completely overhauled its criminal justice system; a new, US-style adversarial system has been gradually implemented throughout the country with the final stage of implementation in the Santiago metropolitan region completed on June 9, 2001

Pressure groups

Pressure groups according to the CIA World Factbook:

International organization participation

Chile or Chilean organizations participate in the following international organizations:

See also


  1. ^ solutions, EIU digital. "Democracy Index 2016 - The Economist Intelligence Unit". www.eiu.com. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  2. ^ Latin America in the 20th century: 1889-1929, 1991, p. 181-186

External links

Binomial voting

The binomial system (Spanish: Sistema binominal) is a voting system that was used in the parliamentary elections of Chile between 1989 and 2013. From a voting system point of view, it is a multiple-winner method of proportional representation with open lists, where winning candidates are chosen through the D'Hondt method. Its particularity comes from the fact that only two candidates are elected in each district, resulting in an over-representation of the second majority list. Its use was prescribed in the respective constitutional organic law during the Pinochet regime.

The binomial system was invented in Poland in the 1980s under the Wojciech Jaruzelski regime, in order to foster political stability in the democratization process, maintaining the preeminence of the Polish United Workers' Party against the rise of the opposition movement Solidarność, being recognized as a system that promoted consensus and negotiation between opposing sides of government.The binomial system was considered by most analysts as the main constitutional lock that prevented completion of the transition to democracy.

Chilean nationalization of copper

The nationalization of the Chilean copper industry, commonly described as the Chilenización del cobre or "Chileanization of copper," was the process by which the Chilean government acquired control of the major foreign-owned section of the Chilean copper mining industry. It involved the three huge mines known as 'La Gran Mineria' and three smaller operations. The Chilean-owned smaller copper mines were not affected. The process started under the government of President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, and culminated during the government of President Salvador Allende, who completed the nationalization. This "act of sovereignty" was the espoused basis for a later international economic boycott, which further isolated Chile from the world economy, worsening the state of political polarization that led to the 1973 Chilean coup d'état.

Comptroller General of Chile

The Comptroller General of Chile (General Accounting Office) is a constitutionally autonomous body of the Government of Chile based on chapter 10 of the Constitution of Chile and it is in charge of the control of the legal aspects, management, preaudit and postaudit functions of all the activities of the centralized and decentralized civil service, whatever its forms of organization may be, as well as of other powers granted by law.

Cordón industrial

Cordón Industrial (or in plural Cordones industriales; English: Industrial Belts) is an organ of popular power or of workers democracy. Cordones were established in Chile by the working class during the Salvador Allende Popular Unity government (1970–1973).

Corruption in Chile

As of 2006, there were isolated reports of government corruption in Chile. Transparency International's 2016 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 24th place out of 176 countries.

Electoral divisions of Chile

Chile has two distinct electoral division systems:

To elect members of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate, Chile is divided into several electoral divisions, namely electoral districts and senatorial constituencies.

To elect members of the Regional Councils, Chile is divided into several provincial constituencies, each of which correspond to one province, except for a few ones that are divided into several constituencies.

Law of Chile

The legal system of Chile belongs to the Continental Law tradition.

The basis for its public law is the 1980 Constitution, reformed in 1989 and 2005. According to it Chile is a democratic republic. There is a clear separation of functions, between the President of the Republic, the Congress, the judiciary and a Constitutional Court. See Politics of Chile.

On the other hand, private relationships are governed, mainly, by the Chilean Civil Code, most of which has not been amended in 150 years. There are also several laws outside the Code that deal with most of the business law.

Law of Permanent Defense of Democracy

In 1948, on the initiative of Chilean President Gabriel González Videla, the Chilean National Congress enacted the Permanent Defense of Democracy Law (Spanish: Ley de Defensa Permanente de la Democracia, Ley N° 8.987), referred to by many as the Damned Law (Ley Maldita), which outlawed the Communist Party of Chile and banned 26,650 persons from the electoral lists.

The law banned the expression of ideas which appeared to advocate "the implantation in the republic of a regime opposed to democracy or which attack the sovereignty of the country."The detention center in Pisagua, used during Carlos Ibáñez del Campo's dictatorship in the late 1920s (and which would be used again during Pinochet's dictatorship), was re-opened to imprison communists, anarchists and revolutionaries, although on this occasion no detainees were executed. Prominent communists such as the senator Pablo Neruda fled into exile. González Videla also broke relations with the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact states. A pro-communist miners' strike in Lota was brutally suppressed. Demonstrations against the legislation led to the declaration of martial law and were successfully repressed.

The law was replaced by Law n.º 12.927, about State Security Law (Seguridad del Estado), on 6. August 1958 which ended the proscription of the Communist Party and lowered penalties for crimes against state security and public order to levels comparable with those that existed prior to 1948.

List of Chilean coups d'état

This is a list of the coups d'état (both plots, failed and successful attempts and armed conflicts) that have taken place in Chile, during its independent history. The 1973 Chilean coup d'état stand out being the last one as well as one of the most violent and with more far-reaching impact in the history of Chile.

List of Government Juntas of Chile

This is a list of the Government Juntas that have ruled Chile as an executive government, since its independence:

Government Junta of the Kingdom of Chile (1810), also known as the First Junta

Government Junta of Chile (August, 1811), also known as the Executive Junta or Second Junta

Government Junta of Chile (September, 1811), also known as the Superior Junta or Third Junta

Government Junta of Chile (November, 1811), also known as the Provisional Junta or Fourth Junta

Government Junta of Chile (December, 1811), also known as the December Junta or Fifth Junta

Government Junta of Chile (April, 1812), also known as the Superior Governmental Junta or Sixth Junta

Government Junta of Chile (October 2, 1812), also known as the Government Junta or Seventh Junta

Government Junta of Chile (October 27, 1812), also known as the Government Junta or Eighth Junta

Government Junta of Chile (1813), also known as the Superior Governmental Junta or Ninth Junta

Government Junta of Chile (1814), also known as the Superior Governmental Junta or Tenth Junta

Government Junta of Chile (1823), also known as the Governmental Junta

Government Junta of Chile (1829)

Government Junta of Chile (1891), also known as the Revolutionary Junta of Iquique or Iquique Junta

Government Junta of Chile (1924), also known as the September Junta or Military Junta

Government Junta of Chile (1925), also known as the January Junta

Government Junta of Chile (1932), also known as the Government Junta of Socialist Republic or Socialist Junta

Government Junta of Chile (1973), also known as the Military Junta

List of Presidents of Chile

This article contains a list of Presidents of Chile from the establishment of the First Government Junta in 1810, at the beginning of the Chilean War of Independence, to the present day.

Outline of Chile

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Chile:

Chile – country in South America occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern and central Chile was under Inca rule while independent Mapuche inhabited south-central Chile. Chile declared its independence from Spain on 12 February 1818. Today Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations, a recognized middle power, and an emerging economy.

Presidency of Salvador Allende

Salvador Allende was the president of Chile from 1970 until 1973, and head of the Popular Unity government; he was the first Marxist ever to be elected to the national presidency of a liberal democracy. Though the 1970 election was lawful, in August 1973 the Chilean Senate declared the Allende government to be "unlawful" in large part due to its practice of unconstitutional expropriation of private property. Allende's presidency ended with a military rising before the constitutional end of his term.

During his tenure, Chilean politics reached a state of civil unrest amid strikes, lockouts, economic sanctions, CIA-sponsored propaganda, and a failed coup in June 1973. Allende's coalition, Unidad Popular, faced the problem of being a minority in the congress and it was plagued by factionalism.On 11 September 1973, a successful coup led by General Augusto Pinochet overthrew the government of Allende.

During the bombing of the presidential palace by the Chilean Air Force, President Allende, after mounting a brief armed resistance against the military, eventually committed suicide (it has also been alleged that he was murdered by an infiltrator), terminating the period of Chilean history known as the "Presidential Republic" (1925–1973).

President of Chile

The President of Chile (Spanish: Presidente de Chile), officially known as the President of the Republic of Chile (Spanish: Presidente de la República de Chile) is the head of state and the head of government of Chile. The President is responsible for both the Chilean government and state administration. Although its role and significance has changed over the history of Chile, as well as its position and relations with other actors in the national political organization, it is one of the most prominent political figures. It is also considered as one of the institutions that make up the "Historic Constitution of Chile", and is essential to the country's political stability.Under the current Constitution (adopted in 1980), the President serves a four-year term, with immediate re-election being prohibited. The shorter period (previously the term was six years) allows for parliamentary and presidential elections to be synchronized. The official seat of the President of Chile is the La Moneda Palace in the capital Santiago.

Presidents of Chile timeline

The timeline shows changes, both personal or title, of the head of state and the head of government of the Republic of Chile from 18 September 1810 until today, regardless of whether president, vice-president, supreme director, interim or junta.

Tricontinental Chile

Tricontinental Chile (Spanish: Chile tricontinental) is a geopolitical concept denoting Chile's unique position with its mainland in South America, Easter Island in Oceania and the Chilean Antarctic Territory in Antarctica.

Vuskovic plan

The Vuskovic Plan was the basis for the economic policy of the Popular Unity (UP) government of Chilean President Salvador Allende. It was drafted by and named after his first Economics Minister Pedro Vuskovic, who had worked before with the CEPAL. Although good results were obtained in 1970, hyperinflation made a comeback in 1972. By 1973, Chile was in shambles – inflation was hundreds of percents, the country had no foreign reserves, and GDP was falling.

Politics of the Americas
Sovereign states

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.