Chile - Political and electoral system

Political and administrative structure

A unitary state. From a functional and territorial perspective, its government is decentralized - or deconcentrated, as the case may be - by law. For governmental and administrative purposes, the country is divided into 15 regions and 54 provinces. For purposes of local administration, provinces are divided into comunas (municipalities - see Art. 99, Constitution of Chile). The country is divided into 15 regions, which are sub-divided into provinces, which are in turn divided into 346 comunas, governed by 345 municipal governments (the municipal government of Cape Horn is responsible for the comunas of Cape Horn and Antarctica).

National parliament

El Congreso Nacional es Bicameral. La Cámara de Diputados está formada con 155 miembros directamente elegidos, quienes son nombrados por 4 años. El Senado está formado por 50 miembros directamente elegidos, quienes son nombrados por 8 años, pero la mitad de sus miembros van renovándose cada 4 años. El nuevo sistema  electoral para elecciones parlamentarias, con el fin del sistema binominal,  pasó a    aplicarse   a partir de 2017.

Municipal government

The mayor is the highest municipal authority. Mayors are responsible for directing, managing and overseeing municipal government (Law Nº 18,695 - Organic Constitutional Municipalities Law. Title II (Mayors), paragraph 1, Art. 56). Mayors are chosen by universal suffrage, concurrently with councilpersons, but on a separate ballot, as required by law (Title II., Art.75) Each municipality is headed by a council with normative, operative and oversight functions (....), comprised of six to ten councilpersons, depending on the number of electors in each comuna.

Duration of terms

Mayors and councilpersons serve for renewable four-year terms.

Representation system

Simple-majority system. No minimum election threshold for mayors. Municipal councils are made up of councilpersons elected by direct suffrage, through a proportional representation system.

Type of list

Open non-party lists.

Electoral constituency

Uninominal for mayors. Councilpersons are elected using a plurinominal mechanism based on the D'Hondt allocation method.

Quota and parity laws

No quota laws.

Legal instruments applicable to municipalities

Organic Constitutional Municipalities Law (Law Nº 18,695). Constitution of Chile, among other sources. The Chilean electoral system is governed by the Constitution. See Municipal elections are governed by Law No. 18,695.

Electoral Justice

The country possesses two autonomous electoral agencies. The Electoral Service (SERVEL) is the highest-ranking electoral body. The Electoral Tribunal (TRICEL) inspects and verifies all electoral processes. It also adjudicates disputes. (Art. 84 of the Constitution, Art.9 of Law N° 18,460). SERVEL liaises with the President of the Republic through the Ministry of the Interior. E