President of Chile

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President of
the Republic of Chile
Flag of the President of Chile.svg
Retrato Oficial Presidente Piñera 2018.jpg
Incumbent
Sebastián Piñera

since 11 March 2018
Style His Excellency
Residence No official residence
Seat La Moneda Palace
Term length Four years, not eligible for re-election immediately
Inaugural holder Manuel Blanco Encalada
Formation June 9, 1826
Succession Minister of the Interior
(as ex officio Vice-President)
Website www.gob.cl
Coat of arms of Chile.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Chile
Comptroller General
Constitutional Court

The President of the Republic of Chile (Spanish: Presidente de la República de Chile) is the head of state and the head of government of the Republic of Chile. The President is responsible for both the Chilean government and state administration.[1] Although its role and significance has changed over the history of Chile, as well as its position and relations with other actors in the national political organization, it is one of the most prominent political figures. It is also considered as one of the institutions that make up the "Historic Constitution of Chile", and is essential to the country's political stability.[2]

Under the current Constitution (adopted in 1980), the President serves a four-year term, with immediate re-election being prohibited. The shorter period (previously the term was six years) allows for parliamentary and presidential elections to be synchronized. The official seat of the President of Chile is the La Moneda Palace in the capital Santiago.

Features of the office

Requirements

The Constitution of 1980 and its 2005 amendment establishes the requirements for becoming President. The President must be a natural-born citizen of the country, or else born overseas when one of his or her parents or grandparents is a Chilean national. The President must also be at least 35 years old[3]. In addition, all the requirements for becoming a Senator apply. The president must meet all the requirements to qualify as a fully Chilean citizen with the right to vote: they must have reached the age of eighteen years and have never been sentenced to severe punishment, nor lost the right to vote on grounds of insanity, been tried for a crime attracting severe punishment or for terrorist conduct, or condemned by the Constitutional Court under Article 8 of the Constitution.

Election

Article 26 detail the electoral requirements. The President shall be elected by direct ballot, with an absolute majority of the votes validly cast. A two-round system is used. In order to win the election in the first round, the winning candidate's party must receive more than 50 percent of the valid votes leaving out of the count blank and spoiled votes.

The election shall be held the third Sunday of November of the year immediately before the end of the administration of the President then holding office. Should there be more than two candidates in the presidential election, none of them obtaining more than half of the votes validly cast, a new election shall be held. The second election ("balloting"), in the manner determined by law, shall be held the fourth Sunday after the first election, limited to the two candidates with the highest relative majorities. Then, the candidate with the majority of valid votes in that round is elected president.

Term duration

Under the 1828 constitution, the President served for four years, without the possibility of immediate reelection for one more term. In 1833, the presidential period was changed to five years, with a possibility of immediate reelection for one more term, limited to two consecutive terms. Then by a constitutional reform in 1878, possibility for reelection became disallowed. Under the 1925 constitution, the President served for a six-year term, without the possibility of immediate reelection only.

In the original text of the 1980 constitution, the President served for an eight-year term without the possibility of immediate reelection. Some transitory disposals, fixed during the government of the general Augusto Pinochet, allowed the exceptional possibility of his reelection in the 1988 plebiscite. Then, in the transition to democracy the 1989 referendum established a first transitional four-year presidential term (1990–1994), followed by common eight-year terms, without the possibility of immediate reelection. However, in March 4, 1994 (a week before Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle took office) the presidential period was reduced to a six-year term, without an immediate reelection.

Under the 2005 constitutional reform, the President serves for four years without the possibility of immediate reelection for one more term. A former president may run for office once again after serving their initial term, but only in an election following their successor, as it is not allowed to run for consecutive terms. There is no limit to how many times a person can run for candidacy if they have not previously served as President.

The incumbent president, in accordance with the constitution, completes their corresponding term on March 11 of the immediate year after the election. The President-elect takes office the same day.

Presidential symbols

Presidential sash

President Sebastian Piñera receives the presidential sash from Senate President Jorge Pizarro at the National Congress of Chile on 11 March 2010.
President Michelle Bachelet with presidential sash and the O'Higgins Pioche, 11 March 2014
President Sebastian Piñera receives presidential sash and the O'Higgins Pioche for the second time, 11 March 2018

The presidential sash, used initially by Bernardo O'Higgins, became a symbol of the authority of the first president with the assumption of office by President José Joaquín Prieto in 1831. It is composed of three stripes with the colors of the Chilean flag, it is sewn by hand and measured approximately 75 cm long and 13 cm wide.

From the nineteenth century a single sash was maintained that was transferred from president to president until 1915, due to the height differences between the outgoing Ramón Barros Luco and the elected Juan Luis Sanfuentes, so a new sash had to be designed. Since that date, each president has had his or her own presidential sash, which is used only in official ceremonies.

O'Higgins Pioche

The O'Higgins Pioche, which is considered the symbol of presidential power and is placed at the lower end of the presidential sash, is a star of five ends of about 7 cm in diameter, enameled in red. It dates back to the medals of the Legion of Merit and remained intact until the coup d'etat of 1973, when it disappeared during the bombing of the La Moneda palace. During the military regime of Augusto Pinochet a replica of the pioche was created, based on photographs of the original. It is only used together with the presidential sash.

Ford Galaxie presidential car

Ford Galaxie 500

The ceremonial presidential vehicle in Chile is a 1966 black Ford Galaxie XL Convertible, given as a gift by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to Chile. It is used only for official ceremonies celebrating national days on May 21, September 18 and September 19 and presidential inaugurations which take place on March 11 every four years. It has a normal license plate (EL-2801).[4]

Living former Presidents

There are four living former Chilean Presidents:


The incumbent president Sebastián Piñera with former presidents Michelle Bachelet, Patricio Aylwin, Ricardo Lagos and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle in 2010
The incumbent president Michelle Bachelet with former presidents Patricio Aylwin, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Ricardo Lagos and Sebastián Piñera in 2014
The current living former presidents Michelle Bachelet, Ricardo Lagos and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle since 2018

See also

References

  1. ^ See Sentencia Rol 78-1989 of the Constitutional Court of Chile, relapsed on the Central Bank of Chile's Constitutional Act project (declarations Nº 7 to 13).
  2. ^ Bravo Lira, Bernardino (1996). "Introducción. Raíz y razón del Estado de derecho en Chile". El Estado de Derecho en la Historia de Chile. Santiago, Chile: Ediciones Universidad Católica de Chile. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 July 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "::: I. Municipalidad De Talagante :::". Munitalagante.cl. Archived from the original on 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 

External links

  • Presidencia (in Spanish)
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