Chile - Local government



After the military government came to power in September 1973, local authorities yielded power to the armed forces, and the nation was divided into military districts. The traditional 25 provinces, as well as all municipalities, were placed under military control.

Today, the country is divided into 13 regions, including the metropolitan area of Santiago, which is not numbered like the other 12 regions, beginning with Region I at the northern border with Peru and continuing in sequence to Region XII at the southern end. The regions each have a capital and are subdivided into provinces. Regions and provinces are administered by regional intendants and provincial governors. The nation's 341 municipalities, headed by mayors, form the smallest units of local government. Mayors and local councilors are elected every four years from the same roster of candidates, with the mayoral seat going to the candidate with the highest number of votes.

In 1991, a constitutional amendment was passed granting some autonomy to local areas, but compared to other countries in the region; local governments in Chile remain weak.

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