Officially: República de Chile.
Seats of government: Santiago; Valparaíso.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly. The legislature (Congreso Nacional) comprises the Cámara de Diputados and the Senado, both elected in two-member geographical constituencies (divided by rough proportion).
Governing party: Nueva Mayoría.
Head of government: Michelle Bachelet, NM, president (since 2014).
Chief opposition party: La Alianza.
Recent history: The Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia or its successor, Nueva Mayoría, has won most of the presidential elections since the restoration of democracy in 1990. The 1999 election and inauguration of president Ricardo Lagos (2000-6), a longtime opponent of the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-90), marked a departure for the democracy; the constitution was changed to remove many of Pinochet’s insertions. But the state still struggled to reform from the Pinochet era, and to hold accountable Pinochet and his government. Compensation was arranged for families of murder victims and for victims of torture under Pinochet. The Concertación took control of both houses of the legislature and retained the presidency in the 2005 elections. Its presidential candidate, socialist Bachelet (2006-10, 2014-), required a runoff against Alianza candidate Sebastián Piñera to win the office. A 2009 election to succeed Bachelet went to a runoff between Piñera and former president Eduardo Frei (1994-2000), standing for the Concertación, which Piñera (2010-4) won. Bachelet returned as NM candidate in 2013, defeating Evelyn Matthei in a runoff; NM secured a majority in both houses of Congress. In 2017 elections, Piñera defeated NM’s Alejandro Guillier in a runoff, and his Chile Vamos coalition won a plurality in both houses of Congress.
FH: 1-1, free. Econ: 7.89 (32), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2017 December 23.