Chile is a sovereign state South American country bordered by Peru (north), Bolivia (northeast), Argentina (east), and the Drake Passage (south). Islands falling under Chilean jurisdiction include the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, as well as Easter Island in Oceania. Chile has an estimated land mass of 469,820 square miles; around 480,000 square miles of Antarctica have also been claimed by Chile (suspended, however, under the Antarctic Treaty). 90% of the population of Chile are situated in the middle third of the country around Santiago (the capital city), with the far north and the extreme south relatively under-populated.
Chile’s strong economy and standard of living has led it to be numbered among South America’s most stable and wealthy countries. It ranks well in terms of human development, income per capita, state of peace, economy, and features low corruption levels. Chile is part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and currently has the lowest homicide rate in South America; it is a founding member of the United Nations, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
How is government structured?
Chile is a representative democratic republic. The President of Chile acts as both the head of state and the head of government; the government itself is a multi-party system that operates like a two-party one. The government retains executive power while legislative power is entrusted to both the government and the National Congress, which has two chambers. As with many governmental systems, the judiciary branch is independent of the executive and the legislature.
Chile is considered to have an imperfect democratic system due to its flawed constitutional basis. The Constitution of Chile was approved in a national plebiscite The Constitution was approved in September 1980 while the country was in the grip of dictator Augusto Pinochet; in 1988, when Pinochet stepped down, the Constitution was amended to make future changes more straightforward. In September 2005, several new laws were passed by Congress, which (among other things) eliminated the positions of appointed senators and senators for life, granted the President authority to remove commanders-in-chief of the armed forces, and reduced the presidential term to four years. Immediate re-election for presidents was also abolished.
The Chilean National Congress is composed of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Congress building is situated in Valparaíso, 87 miles west of Santiago.
The Senate comprises 38 elected members representing regions or subregions with Senators serving approximately eight years at a time. The Chamber of Deputies features 120 members, each if whom are elected to serve four-year terms.
Elections to Congress are achieved via a binomial voting system unique to Chile, with each coalition presenting two candidates for two Senate and two Chamber of Deputies seats for the electoral districts in each chamber of Congress. The two largest coalitions usually split the seats for a district.
Who’s in charge?
The President of Chile acts as the head of state and the head of government. He or she is one of the most prominent political figures in Chile and is responsible for running the government and the state administration.
The President is constitutionally bound to serve a four-year term, and cannot be immediately re-elected. with immediate re-election being prohibited. The La Moneda Palace in the capital city of Santiago is where the President officially resides.
By law, the President must be a natural-born citizen of Chile, must be at least 35 years old, and should also meet all the requirements for becoming a Senator; the President is elected by direct ballot through a two-round system. It is possible for a former president to run for office once again after their initial term, but only in an election that follows that of their successor. Candidates can run for President as many times as they like if they haven’t already served in the office.
Sebastián Piñera has been President of Chile since 11 March 2018.
The legal system
Chile has a civil law-based legal system. Its criminal justice system was overhauled in 2000 when a new US-style system was put in place throughout the nation – the final stages of the new implementation were completed on June 9, 2001.