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Chapter IV Government
President of the RepublicArticle 24
- The government and the administration of the State are vested in the President of the Republic, who is the Chief of the State.
- His authority extends to all that aims at the preservation of the internal public order and the external security of the Republic, in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
- The President of the Republic shall report to the country, at least once a year, on the administration and political condition of the Nation.
- In order to be eligible to the office of President of the Republic, the individual must have been born in the Chilean territory, have attained to the age of forty years, and possess the other necessary requirements to qualify as a citizen with the right to vote.
- The President of the Republic shall hold office for a term of eight years and may not be reelected for the consecutive period.
- The President of the Republic may not leave the national territory for more than thirty days or during the last ninety days of his administration without the consent of the Senate.
- In any case, the President of the Republic shall communicate the Senate with due anticipation, his decision to leave the country and the reasons therefore.
- The President shall be elected by direct ballot, with an absolute majority of the votes validly cast. The election shall be held ninety days before the end of the administration of the President then holding office in the manner determined by law.
- 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, in the manner determined by law, fifteen days after the Elections Qualifying Court makes the corresponding statement within the term indicated in the following Article. This election shall be limited to the two candidates with the highest relative majorities.
- In relation to the provisions contained in the two preceding paragraphs, blank and null and void votes will be considered as if they had not been cast.
- The process of qualification of the presidential election is to be concluded within forty days following the first election or within twenty-five days following the second election.
- The Elections Qualifying Court shall immediately communicate the President of the Senate the proclamation of the President-elect.
- Plenary Congress convened in public session ninety days after the first or sole election, with the members in attendance, shall take cognizance of the decision by virtue of which the Elections Qualifying Court proclaims the President-elect.
- In this same act, the President-elect shall be bound by oath before the President of the Senate to faithfully perform his duties as President of the Republic, to preserve the independence of the Nation, comply with and enforce compliance with the Constitution and the law, and he shall take office immediately thereafter.
- Should the President-elect be unable to take office, the President of the Senate shall assume, in the meantime, in the capacity of Vice-President of the Republic; in his absence, the President of the Supreme Court, and in the absence of the latter, the President of the Chamber of Deputies.
- Nevertheless, should the inability of the President-elect be absolute or should it continue indefinitely, the Vice-President within the term of ten days following the Senate agreement adopted in accordance with Article 49, No 7, shall issue the appropriate orders for steps to be taken within a period of sixty days to proceed with a new election in the manner prescribed for by the Constitution and the Electoral law.
- If, because of temporary incapacity, either illness, absence from the country or some other serious reason, the President of the Republic is unable to hold office, he shall be replaced by the incumbent Minister of State as Vice-President of the Republic, in accordance with the order of legal precedence. In the absence of such Minister, the Minister who follows in the order of precedence shall succeed him; and in the absence of all of them, the President of the Senate, the President of the Supreme Court and the President of the Chamber of Deputies, successively, shall substitute for him.
- In case of vacancy in the Presidency of the Republic, the successor shall be appointed by the Senate with an absolute majority of its members in office and shall remain in office until the next general election of members of Congress when a new presidential election shall be held for the period referred to in the second paragraph of Article 25. The Senate shall make its appointment within ten days following the date of the vacancy. In the meantime, the substitution procedures referred to in the preceding paragraph shall apply. The President thus designated may not become a candidate in the following presidential election.
The President shall leave office on the same day on which his term is completed and shall be succeeded by the newly-elected President.
The President designated by the Senate, or, as the case may be, the Vice-President of the Republic, shall have all the authority which the Constitution confers upon the President of the Republic; however, he shall not be empowered to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies.
The special powers vested in the President of the Republic are the following:
1. To contribute to the making of the laws in accordance with the Constitution; to sanction and promulgate them;
2. To convene Congress to an extraordinary session and to close it;
3. To issue, subject to delegation of powers by the Congress, decrees having force of law with reference to matters indicated by the Constitution;
4. To call to a plebiscite in the instances set forth in Article 117 and the final paragraph of Article 118;
5. To dissolve the Chamber of Deputies only once during his presidential term, being precluded from exercising this power during the last year in which the Chamber is in office.
6. To designate, in accordance with Article 45 of this Constitution, the members of the Senate indicated in said provision;
7. To declare situations of constitutional exception in the instances and forms prescribed for in this Constitution;
8. To exercise the statutory authority in all those matters which are not of a legal nature, without prejudice to the power to issue other regulations, decrees or instructions which he may deem appropriate for the enforcement of the law;
9. To appoint, and remove at will Ministers of State, Undersecretaries, Intend ants, Governors and Mayors appointed by him;
10. To appoint Ambassadors and Diplomatic Ministers and Representatives to international organizations. Both these officers and those specified in No 9 above, shall be of the exclusive confidence of the President of the Republic and shall remain in their positions as long as they continue being reliable to him;
11. To appoint the Comptroller General of the Republic with the consent of the Senate;
12. To appoint and remove officers considered by law to be of his exclusive confidence and to fill the other civilian positions in accordance with the law. The removal of other officers shall be subject to the provisions determined by law;
13. To grant pensions, retirement, widows' and orphans' pensions and de gratia pensions, in accordance with the law;
14. To appoint the Justices of the Higher Courts of Justice and the Civil Judges, on the proposal of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, respectively, as well as the member of the Constitutional Court to be appointed by the President of the Republic, as prescribed for in this Constitution;
15. To watch over the ministerial conduct of the judges and other employees of the Judiciary and, to that effect, demand from the Supreme Court, when applicable, the declaration on misconduct of such persons; or request from the Attorney Generalship that disciplinary measures be sought from the competent court or, in the light of sufficient evidence, file the pertinent accusation.
16. To grant individual pardon in the cases and in the manner prescribed for by the law. Pardon shall not be applicable in the absence of final judgement in the respective proceedings. Officials impeached by the Chamber of Deputies and condemned by the Senate may be pardoned by the Congress only;
17. To conduct political relations with foreign nations and international organizations, and carry out negotiations; conclude, sign and ratify treaties deemed advantageous for the interests of the country, which must be submitted to the approval of Congress as prescribed for in Article 50, No 1. The discussions and deliberations on these matters shall be secret should the President of the Republic so demand;
18. To appoint and remove Commanders-in-Chief of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Director, General of the Armed Police in accordance with Article 93, and provide for assignments, promotions and retirement of officers of the Armed Forces and the Armed Police as prescribed for in Article 94;
19. To command the air, sea and land forces; organize and distribute them in accordance with national security needs;
20. To take over, in case of war, the supreme command of the Armed Forces;
21. To declare war, subject to authorization by law; being it required to point out that the National Security Council has been heard in this regard, and
22. To watch over the collection of public revenue and decree its expenditure in accordance with the law. The President of the Republic, with the approval of all the Ministers of State, may decree payments not authorized by in order to meet needs which cannot be postponed resulting from public calamities, foreign aggression, internal disturbance, serious detriment or danger to national security or the exhaustion of resources designed for the maintenance of services which cannot be interrupted without causing serious detriment to the country. The total investment made toward such objectives shall not exceed a two per cent (2% per annum of the total expenditures authorized by the Budgetary Law. Hiring of employees charged to this law is permitted; however, this item may not be increased or reduced through conveyances. The Ministers of State or officers who should authorize or approve expenditures which contravene the provisions of this number, shall be held jointly and severally liable for the reimbursement thereof and guilty of the crime of embezzlement of public funds.
Ministers of State
- The Ministers of State are the direct and immediate collaborators of the President of the Republic in governing and administering the State.
- The law shall determine the number and organization of the Ministers as well as the order of precedence of the incumbent Ministers.
- The President of the Republic may entrust one or more Ministers with the coordination of the work to be performed by the Secretaries of State and relations of the Government with the National Congress.
- In order to be eligible to the office of Minister, the person must be Chilean, should have attained to the age of twenty-one years, and should meet the general requirements for entering Public Administration.
- In cases of absence, impediment or resignation of a Minister, or should the vacancy be produced by another cause, he shall be replaced in the manner established by law.
The regulations and decrees of the President of the Republic must be signed by the respective Minister and shall not be enforced without this essential requirement.
Decrees and instructions may be issued with the sole signature of the respective Minister, by order of the President of the Republic, in accordance with the norms which to this effect the law should establish.
The Ministers shall be individually responsible for all the acts under their signature and shall be jointly and severally responsible for acts subscribed by or agreed upon with the other Ministers.
When Ministers should deem it appropriate, they may attend sessions of the Chamber of Deputies or of the Senate and participate in the debates, with priority right for taking the floor, but without the right to vote. Nevertheless, during the voting, they may rectify concepts voiced by any Deputy or Senator upon explaining the grounds for his vote.
General Principles for the Administration of the State
A constitutional organic law shall determine the basic organization of the Public Administration. It shall guarantee the career of the civil servants, as well as the principles of a technical and professional nature on which such career should be based; and shall ensure both the equality of opportunities for entering the service and the training and improvement of such officers.
Any person whose rights should have been adversely affected by the Administration of the State, the Bodies thereof or the Municipalities, is entitled to file complaint in courts established by law for cognizance of matters contested under administrative law, without prejudice to the responsibility which might affect the officer who should have caused harm. States of Constitutional Exception
The rights and guarantees, ensured to all persons by the Constitution, may only be affected in the following exceptional situations: foreign or internal war, internal disturbances, emergency and public calamity.
1. In case of foreign war, the President of the Republic, with the consent of the National Security Council, may declare all or part of the national territory in the state of assembly.
2. In case of internal war or internal commotion, the President of the Republic may, with the consent of Congress, declare all or part of the national territory in a state of siege.
3. The President of the Republic, with the consent of the National Security Council, may declare the whole national territory or part thereof in the state of emergency in the event of serious disturbance of public order, harm or danger to the national security, resulting from causes of either internal or external origin.
- Within ten days following the date on which the President of the Republic has submitted the declaration of the state of siege to the Congress, the latter must decide whether to accept or reject the proposal, not being permitted to introduce modifications thereto. Should the Congress not make a pronouncement within that period, the proposal shall be understood to be approved.
- However, the President of the Republic, with the consent of the National Security Council, may immediately declare the state of siege pending pronouncement of Congress on the declaration.
- Each Chamber of Congress, by a majority vote of members present, must take their pronouncement on the declaration of state of siege proposed by the President of the Republic. The Congress may, at any time and by an absolute majority of the members in office in each Chamber, waive the effect of state of siege which it had approved.
- State of siege may be declared only for a period not exceeding ninety days; however, the President of the Republic may request an extension thereof; processing of such extension is subject to the preceding provisions.
Said state of emergency may not exceed ninety days, and it may be reinstated should the circumstances prevail.
4. In case of public disaster, the President of the Republic may, with the consent of the National Security Council, declare the state of catastrophe for the affected zone or any other area which should so require as a result of the calamity occurred.
5. The President of the Republic may decree two or more states of exception simultaneously if the grounds for the declaration thereof should concur.
6. The President of the Republic may, at any time, terminate said states.
- By virtue of the declaration of state of assembly, the President of the Republic is authorized to suspend or restrict personal freedom, the right to assemble, freedom of information and opinion and freedom to work. He may also restrict the exercise of the right of association and unionization, impose censorship on mail and communications, order the confiscation of property and establish limitations on the exercise of the right to ownership.
- By virtue of the declaration of state of siege, the President of the Republic may transfer persons from one place to another within the national territory, arrest people in their own homes or in places that are neither jails nor those used for detention or imprisonment of common criminals, and expel them from the national territory. In addition, he may restrict freedom of movement and prohibit certain persons from entering or leaving the territory. He may also suspend or restrict the exercise of the right to assemble, freedom of information and opinion, the rights of association and unionization, and impose censorship on correspondence and communications.
- The provision related to transfer of persons must be complied within urban localities which meet the requirements established by law.
- The appeals referred to in Article 21, shall not apply in states of assembly and or siege with regard to measures adopted by the competent authority pursuant to declaration of such states, and subject to the norms established by the Constitution and the law.
- The appeal for protection is not applicable to states of exception, with respect to actions adopted by the authorities in accordance with the Constitution and the law affecting the constitutional rights and guarantees, which, pursuant to provisions governing such states, may have been suspended or restricted.
- In the cases referred to in the preceding paragraphs, the Courts of Justice may not, whatever the circumstances; intervene to qualify the factual grounds for the measures adopted by the authorities in the exercise of their powers.
- By virtue of the declaration of the state of emergency, all measures applicable to the state of siege may be adopted, with the exception of the arrest of persons, their transfer from one point to another within the territory, expulsion from the country, and restriction of the exercise of the rights of association and unionization. Freedom of information and opinion may be restricted only.
- By virtue of the declaration of the state of catastrophe, the President of the Republic may restrict the circulation of persons, transportation of merchandise and freedom of work, information, opinion and assembly. Likewise, he may provide for confiscation of property and establish limitation on the exercise of ownership, and adopt the extraordinary measures of an administrative nature deemed appropriate.
- Upon declaration of the state of emergency or catastrophe, the respective zones shall fall under immediate dependence of the Chief of National Defense appointed by the Government, who shall assume command, empowered with the authority and duties prescribed for by law.
- The President of the Republic shall be bound to inform the Congress of the measures adopted by virtue of the states of emergency and catastrophe.
- The measures adopted during the states of exception, the duration of which has not been established, may not be extended beyond the period of enforcement of said states and be applied only in so far as they should be really necessary, without prejudice to provisions set forth in No 3 of this Article. However, the measures provided for the expulsion from the territory of the Republic and the prohibition to enter the country, authorized in accordance with preceding numbers, shall remain in force despite the termination of the state of exception which caused such measures provided that the issuing authorities should not expressly decree discontinuance of applicability thereof.
- In no case may measures of restriction and deprivation of freedom be adopted against Congressmen, Judges, Members of the Constitutional Court, the Comptroller General of the Republic, and the Members of the Elections Qualifying Court.
- Confiscations shall give rise to indemnifications, in compliance with the law. The right to indemnification shall also apply in case of limitations imposed on ownership when such limitations produce deprivation of any of the essential faculties or powers of ownership thus causing injury.
- A constitutional organic law may regulate the states of exception and empower the President of the Republic to, personally or through other authorities, exercise the powers formerly described, without prejudice to provisions established in the states of emergency and catastrophe.