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Constitutional Background

2004 Constitution: After President Lagos arranged for a cross-party agreement, a democratic constitution came into force.

1980 Constitution: Ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet and his former supporters formed the opposition parties and blocked reforms of the 1980 constitution. That constitution gave the armed forces a high degree of autonomy and the right-wing opposition a de facto majority in the Senate.  Also, the constitutional tribunal that was installed by the outgoing military regime retained its power to overturn legislation.

History and News

  • March 2006: Term of the last unelected Senators expires.
  • 2004: Draft of a new Constitution adopted by.
  • 2002: Supreme court rules that senile dementia makes Pinochet unfit for trial; this forces him to resign his Senate seat.
  • March 2000: Ricardo Lagos becomes President.
  • March 1998: Constitutional term of Pinochet as commander of the army is over after he is arrested in London on human-rights abuse charges.
  • 1990: Pinochet dictatorship ends, but constitutional change is blocked.
  • 1980: New Constitution that is democratic in name, but undemocratic in its intent to perpetuate the armed forces' political power.  Of nine non-elected Senators, four were former military and police commanders.  Also, Pinochet received a Senate seat for life.  Elected Presidents were deprived of their power to dismiss the highest military and police commanders.
  • 1973: Augusto Pinochet starts dictatorship.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 18th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.