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.