Chile’s democratic system of government is based on the separation of powers. It is a multiparty republic with a presidential system based on the 1980 constitution. The constitution sets the format for the National Congress, composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. The Senate has 47 members (38 elected and nine appointed) who serve eight-year terms. The Chamber of Deputies has 120 members who are directly elected for 4 years. The last Congressional election was held in 2013, the next is scheduled for 2017. A Bill replacing the Binomial Electoral System and adjusting the number of legislators (to 155 Deputies and 50 Senators) is currently awaiting publication and should take effect from the 2017 election. The President of the Republic is elected for a six-year term without possibility for re-election. The executive branch is composed of 16 ministries and four cabinet-level agencies.
In several areas the President is given sole authority to introduce bills, such as for measures related to spending and duties of public-sector administrative entities and modifications to the political-administrative configuration of the state. The President can also call the legislature into extraordinary session, during which only legislative and treaty proposals introduced by the President can be considered. The President may grant certain initiatives priority status, requiring that Congress act within 3, 10, or 30 days, depending on the degree of urgency. In this sense, the President has the exclusive power to set the legislative agenda.
The Constitution is the highest norm and establishes the hierarchy of other legislation. Congress adopts the laws or statutes, with an internal hierarchy depending on quorum of approval and regulated matter: institutional act, special act, and ordinary act (including decree laws, delegated laws and ordinary laws, all of which are of equal hierarchy). The executive branch enacts regulations (supreme decrees), which are issued by the President of the Republic, and plain decrees or resolutions, which are issued by the rest of the executive branches. A bill, once approved first by the Chamber of Deputies and then the Senate, is sent to the President for approval. Upon endorsement of the bill, the President issues a decree of promulgation and submits the bill for constitutional review by the Comptroller-General. After the bill has been declared constitutionally sound, the President has the bill published as law in the Official Journal.