The Government in Chile is based on the presidential, republic and democratic framework which means that the president is the highest authority and heads the government.
The power in the country is shared at three different levels - the executive power i.e. the president, the legislative power i.e. shared by the House of Representatives and the senate and finally the judicial power.
Presidential elections are held every four years; the latest presidential elections were held in 2009 and the current president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera Echenique, was elected in 2010.
Chile has a multi-party system which means there are a number of political parties operational. The following political parties participated in 2010 elections.
- Renovacion Nacional
- Partido Democrata Cristiano
- Partido Por La Democracia
- Union Democrata Independiente
- Partido Socialista De Chile
- Partido Radical Socialdemocrata
- Partido Regionalista De Los Independientes
- Partido Comunista De Chile
- Partido Humanista
- Movimiento Amplio Social
- Partido Ecologista Del Sur
The country was forced into a coup in 1973 by General Augusto Pinochet, the then Chief of Army staff. He then assumed the office of the president. His rule was marked by suspending civil liberties, banning political activity and curbing parliament. The current Chilean constitution was approved and enforced in 1980 and 1981 under his military dictatorship. After the fall of Pincohet's dictatorship government in 1988, the Chilean government has been stable and free of coups.
(Source: Servel Chile , Infoplease)
Regulatory Environment in Chile
The country’s economic freedom score is 77.4, making its economy the 11th freest in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. Chile has the highest degree of economic freedom in the South and Central America and Caribbean region.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Chile ranks 21st in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2010 which indicates that the corruption levels in the public departments in the country is low.
Freedom of information
The constitution provides the country’s citizens and the media with freedom of speech. The media has the freedom to criticise the government and to cover sensitive issues.
Chile is ranked 33rd in the world Press Freedom Index 2010 with a score of 10.50, indicating that media in the country has a considerable degree of freedom.
(Source: BBC, rsf.org)
Chile is ruled by the constitution created in 1980, although there have been several amendments to it. The judicial system is headed by the Supreme Court followed by a Constitutional Court, 16 Courts of Appeal, 84 Oral Criminal Tribunals and Guarantee Judges. There are other specialised tribunals and courts for family, labour, customs, taxes, and electoral affairs.
The court is responsible for the reviewing the constitution. The court reviews statutes before they are enacted. Constitutional courts must declare a law or an act with the force of law as inapplicable or unconstitutional. The Constitutional court is a ten member team: three members are appointed by the Supreme Court, another three members are appointed by the President, and the remaining four members are chosen by the Senate.
Tribunal Calificador de Elecciones controls all the national elections, including the elections of the president, the national congress and the municipalities. The four members Electoral court, appointed by Supreme Court, must include an ex-President or Vice-President of the Senate or Chamber of Deputies.
Contraloría General de la República
As part of the executive branch, the Contraloría General de la República is in charge of the control of legal aspects, and the management and auditing of all the activities of the centralised and decentralised civil services. It also must take part in the approval or rejection of the revenue and investment accounts of public funds.