Chile Table of Contents
Government: Multiparty republic with a presidential system based on 1980 constitution, amended and approved by referendum in July 1989, with fifty-four reforms. Executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Executive power with president directly elected; successive reelection not allowed. Presidential candidates must win a majority or face a runoff. Under a constitutional reform approved by Congress in February 1994, the presidential term was reduced from eight to six years, the traditional term. Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, elected president of the Christian Democratic Party (Partido Demócrata Cristiano--PDC) on November 23, 1991, won the presidential election held on December 11, 1993, and assumed the presidency on March 11, 1994. National Security Council (Consejo de Seguridad Nacional--Cosena) includes president of republic, presidents of Supreme Court and Senate, and heads of armed forces and police. Bicameral National Congress (located in Valparaíso): Senate, with forty-six members, including eight designates, serving eight-year terms, and Chamber of Deputies with 120 members serving four-year terms. Courts include Supreme Court (seventeen judges), seventeen appellate courts, and a number of military courts.
Administrative Subdivisions: Twelve numbered regions (regiones, I to XII) and Santiago Metropolitan Region. Numbered regions each headed by an intendant (intendente). Regions subdivided into total of fifty-one provinces (provincias), each headed by a governor (governador) and 300 municipalities (municipalidades), each headed by a mayor (alcalde) appointed by the municipal council (in towns with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants) or by the president of the republic (in towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants). Lowest subdivision, communes (comunas). Santiago, like other cities, headed by a mayor.
Politics: Governing coalition, the Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia--CPD), dominated by PDC and socialists, expected to retain control in Congress, but without increase in legislative strength it may be unable to introduce important constitutional reform, such as composition of Constitutional Tribunal, membership and functions of Cosena, and promotion of military officers.
Political Parties: Left--Communist Party of Chile (Partido Comunista de Chile--PCCh) discredited since October 1988 plebiscite (which PCCh claimed regime would not allow Pinochet to lose), revolution in Eastern Europe, and disintegration of Soviet Union. Party for Democracy (Partido por la Democracia--PPD), which is an independent-minded creation of the Socialist Party (Partido Socialista--PS) and a member of Aylwin government's CPD coalition, became second most popular party in 1993, after PDC. United Popular Action Movement (Movimiento de Acción Popular Unitario--MAPU), a Mapuche leftist party, quit CPD in June 1993. Christian Left (Izquierda Cristiana--IC), a minor leftist party and CPD member. Humanist-Green Alliance Party (Partido Alianza Humanista Verde-- PHV) also left CPD in 1993. Center--PDC had most followers in 1993, with 35.5 percent of overall votes. Radical Party (Partido Radical- -PR) supporting Frei Ruiz-Tagle in 1993. Right--National Renewal (Renovación Nacional--RN). Independent Democratic Union (Unión Democrática Independiente--UDI), political voice of former military regime's economic and political elite. Although RN dominant rightist party, it and UDI main rivals for leadership of right. Union of the Centrist Center (Unión de Centro Centro--UCC), also a rightist party. On July 3, 1993, center-right parties--RN, UDI, UCC, National Party (Partido Nacional--PN), and Liberal Party (Partido Liberal--PL)--agreed to form coalition called Union for the Progress of Chile (Unión por el Progreso de Chile). However, center-right remained in disarray prior to December 1993 elections.
Foreign Relations: Pro-West, pro-democracy. Maintains relations with more than seventy countries. Since restoration of democratic government in 1990, has reestablished political and economic ties with other Latin American countries, North America, Europe, and Asia. United States-Chilean relations have improved considerably since return to democracy and progress on issue of 1976 assassination in Washington of former Chilean ambassador to United States Orlando Letelier and United States citizen Ronnie Moffitt. Although shunning multilateral regional integration schemes, entered into bilateral tariff-cutting accords with individual Latin American countries--including Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico--in early 1990s, as well as negotiated framework trade agreement with United States in October 1990. Since joining Rio Group in 1990, has played active role in promoting democracy within inter-American system.
International Agreements and Membership: Member, Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean; Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation; Customs Cooperation Council; Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean ( ECLA--see Glossary); General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; Group of Eleven; Group of 77; Inter-American Development Bank; International Atomic Energy Commission; International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); International Civil Aviation Organization; International Confederation of Free Trade Unions; International Criminal Police Organization; International Development Association; International Fund for Agricultural Development; International Labor Organization; IMF; International Maritime Satellite Organization; International Monetary Organization; International Office for Migration; International Telecommunications Satellite Organization; International Telecommunications Union; Latin American Economic System; Latin American Integration Association; League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Organization of American States; Organization of Copper Exporting Countries; Pacific Economic Cooperation Council; Rio Group; United Nations and its main affiliated organizations; Universal Postal Union; World Confederation of Labor; World Federation of Trade Unions; World Health Organization; World Intellectual Property Organization; World Meteorological Organization; and World Tourism Organization.
Data as of March 1994
Chile Table of Contents