SANTIAGO, Sept. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Chilean President Ricardo Lagos enacted on Saturday the country's revised constitution to replace the one written by the former military regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
The amendments include restoration of full authority by the civilian government over the military and elimination of several appointed senate seats.
As an important part of the efforts to improve Chile's democratic system, the Lagos government, after it came into power in 2000, had held repeated consultations with various political powers in the congress over possible revisions for the constitution.
The new constitution is "an achievement of all Chileans," said Lagos during a solemn ceremony at the presidential palace.
"This is a great day for Chile, as we finally have a democratic constitution," the president said. "We now have a constitution that represents us all."
The constitution issued in 1980 by the Pinochet military regimewas passed through a controversial referendum, which was held with strict political limitations.
In the new constitution passed by the congress unanimously in July, the tenure of the president is reduced by two years to four years and positions for senator-for-life and appointed senators inthe congress are eliminated. All senators will be elected through democratic elections.
The new constitution gives the president absolute control over the armed forces, including the power to dismiss top military commanders.
The once-powerful National Security Council, with the four military commanders having an equal vote to that of the president, will not have the power to make decisions. It has been turned intoan advisory body for the president on security and other issues. Enditem