The government of Chile works under a representative democracy, which means the citizens of Chile elect individuals to represent their interests in government. The government of Chile is divided into 3 branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The President of Chile serves as both the Head of State and the Head of Government, while the legislative actions are carried out by the National Congress. The National Congress is divided into two houses: the Chamber of Deputies (120 seats) and the Senate (38 seats). The judicial branch is independent of the legislative and judicial.
According to the Constitution of Chile, individuals may serve two nonconsecutive terms as President. These terms have been established since 1980.
The National Congress of Chile convenes in the Chile Congress building, which is located in Valparaiso, a port city. This building is located nearly 87 miles from the capital city of Santiago. The meeting place was changed under the Pinochet regime in the late 1980’s. The new Chile Congress building was constructed in a contemporary style and is characterized by a number of large, white columns at its entrance.
Since 2009, voting in Chile has been voluntary. Any citizen over the age of 18 can vote with a valid national identification card or passport. The presidential electoral process is based on an absolute majority vote. If a presidential candidate does not receive the absolute majority of votes in the first round of elections, the top two candidates will go on to a second round of voting. The residents of 60 electoral districts elect two representatives each to serve a four-year term in the Chamber of Deputies. Voters in Chile also select 2 senators for each of the 19 senatorial electoral districts. This process makes Chile the only country in the world to have 2-seat electoral districts for both houses of congress. Senators serve eight-year terms; half of all senators are replaced every 4 years.
This page was last modified on November 22nd, 2017