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Chile enacts new democratic constitution

[JURIST] Chilean President Ricardo Lagos [official profile] enacted a new constitution for his country Saturday designed to improve the nation's democratic system. Chile's previous constitution [text, in Spanish] was approved in a controversial referendum in 1980 under the military rule of General Augusto Pinochet [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive]. The new constitution [Chilean government backgrounder], approved by Chile's Congress in July, reduces the presidential term from 6 years to 4 years, gives the president control over the armed forces, abolishes senator-for-life positions and requires all senators be elected through democratic elections. The military-controlled National Security Council, which previously wielded power equal to the president, has been stripped of its decision making abilities and now serves as a presidential advisory group. At the signing ceremony, President Lagos declared [text of speech], "We now have a constitution that represents us all." Xinhuanet has more.

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