The government of Chile was based on the constitution of 1925 until a military coup d’état in 1973. Although the constitution remained nominally in effect, most of its provisions guaranteeing popular democracy and due process were suspended. A new constitution was approved in 1980 and enacted in 1981, although its major provisions were not fully implemented until 1989. Significant changes were made to the constitution in 2005. All citizens aged 18 and older are entitled to vote.
The 1981 constitution vests executive power in a president who is popularly elected, and a cabinet that is appointed by the president. Military leaders controlled the government from 1973 until 1989, when popular elections for a civilian president were held. The military continued to wield significant power in the government, however, until constitutional changes in 2005 greatly reduced its influence. The modifications reduced the military-controlled National Security Council to an advisory role and gave the president the power to remove members from the council. In 1994 the legislature extended the presidential term from four to six years, but it reverted back to four years in 2005.
In 1989 Chilean voters elected a bicameral legislature, called the National Congress. The Chamber of Deputies consists of 120 members and the Senate comprises 38 members.
The highest judicial body in Chile is the Supreme Court. Judges are appointed for life by the president from a list submitted by the Supreme Court judges.
For the purpose of local administration, Chile is divided into 15 regions (including Greater Santiago), which are subdivided into 53 provinces. The governors, who preside over the regions, and the officials who govern the provinces are appointed by the president. Provinces are further divided into municipalities. "Chile" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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