Chile

   

Quality of Democracy

#29
Key Findings
Despite generally stable institutions, Chile falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 29) with regard to quality of democracy. Its score on this measure is unchanged since 2014.

A new electoral law, applied in 2017 for the first time, has expanded both legislative houses, changed the proportional-representation model and introduced gender quotas for candidate lists. New anti-corruption measures have been implemented in response to political-party funding scandals.

The largest state-owned TV station was declared bankrupt in 2017, clouding its future. A new law bars civilians from being tried by military courts. The government issued an apology to the indigenous population for past treatment, and introduced a plan offering recognition of the community’s collective and linguistic rights.

Gender and ethnic discrimination remain concerns, but same-sex unions have been newly accepted, and new electoral and labor laws promote women’s participation. Courts are strong and independent. Links between political and economic elites reinforce existing patterns of privilege.

Electoral Processes

#35

How fair are procedures for registering candidates and parties?

10
 9

Legal regulations provide for a fair registration procedure for all elections; candidates and parties are not discriminated against.
 8
 7
 6


A few restrictions on election procedures discriminate against a small number of candidates and parties.
 5
 4
 3


Some unreasonable restrictions on election procedures exist that discriminate against many candidates and parties.
 2
 1

Discriminating registration procedures for elections are widespread and prevent a large number of potential candidates or parties from participating.
Candidacy Procedures
9
In general terms, candidates and parties are not discriminated against in the registration process. Electoral procedures are very reliable and there is no ideological bias.

Beginning with the 2013 presidential election, a non-compulsory primary-election system (primarias) for the designation of presidential candidates was established. The 2013 presidential and congressional elections showed a slight improvement due to the fact that one of the two main coalitions, the former Concertación – now renamed Nueva Mayoría – broadened its ideological spectrum in order to integrate several small leftist parties (Partido Comunista; Izquierda Ciudadana; Movimiento Amplio Social). Under the second government of Michelle Bachelet, these political forces were also assigned ministerial responsibility. This can be regarded as an improvement within Chilean democracy in general.

Also, the Electoral Service (Servicio Electoral de Chile, SERVEL) has been assigned a wider range of oversight mechanisms regarding registration procedures. It has also been given more autonomy from other state organs, with the aim of ensuring more efficient monitoring of the registration process and of political-party and campaign financing. To a certain degree, this shift can be seen as a response to the electoral fraud that occurred in 2013, when two independent candidates forged signatures in order to meet the candidate-registration threshold. Both were found guilty in 2014.

In April 2015, a new electoral law (Law No. 20,840) was enacted that replaced the 25-year-old binominal electoral system for parliamentary elections with a system of “proportional and inclusive representation.” The allocation of seats continues to based on the D’Hondt method, but now in multimember districts of smaller magnitude (3 to 8 deputies and 2 to 5 senators). Further changes include the following:

- An increase in the overall number of deputies (from 120 to 155) and senators (from 38 to 50);
- A reduction in the number of districts and constituencies for the election of the Chamber of Deputies (from 60 to 28);
- A reduction in the number of districts and constituencies for the election of the Senate (from 19 to 15);
- The introduction of a gender quota applied to party lists: neither males nor females may exceed 60% of the total number of candidates presented by a party (up to 2029);
- An increase in the amount of state reimbursement for each vote received by female candidates and the introduction of a gender bonus of about $20,000 for each woman elected as deputy or senator (up to 2029);
- A lowering of the requirements for creating parties. The number of signatures parties must collect decreased from 0.5% of the voters in the last election for the Chamber of Deputies in 8 of the 15 regions or in 3 geographically contiguous regions to only 0.25%, but limited to the region in which they are registered;
- The introduction of the M+1 rule: unlike the binominal system, each party list must now include as many candidates as seats are to be distributed, plus one. As before, the lists are open.
- Electoral pacts between parties are only allowed at the national level.
In December 2016, another electoral law (Law No. 20,990) was enacted which introduced the direct popular election of the executive branch of the twelve regions in which the country is administratively divided. The former “Intendentes” which were designated by the central government will be replaced by elected “Gobernadores Regionales” in order the foster decentralization and citizen participation. The office term will be four years and only one consecutive reelection possible. To be elected, a candidate requires at least 40% of the valid votes in the first round or more than 50% in the runoff (second round between the two candidates with the most votes).
The new electoral system for congress was first applied in the legislative elections of November 2017 (beyond the review period) together with the presidential election. The first direct election of regional governors will take place in 2020.

Citations:
http://www.gob.cl/2015/04/27/fin-al-binominal-conoce-el-nuevo-sistema-electoral/

http://www.bcn.cl/leyfacil/recurso/nuevo-sistema-electoral-para-elecciones-parlamentarias-%28fin-del-sistema-binominal%29

http://www.bcn.cl/leyfacil/recurso/nuevo-sistema-electoral-para-elecciones-parlamentarias-%28fin-del-sistema-binominal%29

Ricardo Gamboa/Mauricio Morales 2016: Country Note. Chile’s 2015 Electoral Reform: Changing the Rules of the Game, Latin American Politics and Society, 11 October 2016, 126-144. DOI: 10.1111/laps.12005, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/laps.12005/Abstract

http://www.gob.cl/consiste-la-eleccion-directa-gobernadores-regionales-aprobada-este-miercoles/

https://www.leychile.cl/Navegar?idNorma=1098725

https://www.efe.com/efe/america/politica/bachelet-promulga-una-ley-que-permitira-la-eleccion-directa-de-gobernadores-regionales/20000035-3136356#

To what extent do candidates and parties have fair access to the media and other means of communication?

10
 9

All candidates and parties have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. All major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of the range of different political positions.
 8
 7
 6


Candidates and parties have largely equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. The major media outlets provide a fair and balanced coverage of different political positions.
 5
 4
 3


Candidates and parties often do not have equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communication. While the major media outlets represent a partisan political bias, the media system as a whole provides fair coverage of different political positions.
 2
 1

Candidates and parties lack equal opportunities of access to the media and other means of communications. The major media outlets are biased in favor of certain political groups or views and discriminate against others.
Media Access
4
Access by candidates and parties to public TV channels is regulated by law (Law No. 18,700, Ley Orgánica Constitucional sobre Votaciones Populares y Escrutinios, and Law No. 18,603, Ley Orgánica Constitucional de los Partidos Políticos). Given the high concentration of media ownership with a specific political viewpoint, candidates and parties de facto lack equal opportunity of access to a plurality of media and other means of communication. La Nación, a former daily paper owned and run by the state, stopped publishing a print edition under former President Sebastián Piñera’s administration (although the publication is still accessible online). Chile’s largest free TV channel (TVN) is state-owned, and is required by law to provide balanced and equal access to all political views and parties – a regulation which is overseen by the National Television Directorate (Consejo Nacional de Televisión, CNTV). The private media is mainly owned and/or influenced by elite associated with the Chile Vamos (until 2015, Alianza por Chile) coalition, which represents the opposition during the period under review. Although La Nación and TVN are state-owned, they must operate according to market rules, relying on advertising revenues and strong audience ratings. In general, regional candidates tend to have fewer media-access opportunities due to the strong centralization of Chile’s political and media systems. By the end of the period under review, TVN was declared bankrupt and the future of the channel seemed uncertain as the parliament will have to decide by the end of 2017 whether to provide public funds and guarantee its functioning or privatize the channel.

To what extent do all citizens have the opportunity to exercise their right of participation in national elections?

10
 9

All adult citizens can participate in national elections. All eligible voters are registered if they wish to be. There are no discriminations observable in the exercise of the right to vote. There are no disincentives to voting.
 8
 7
 6


The procedures for the registration of voters and voting are for the most part effective, impartial and nondiscriminatory. Citizens can appeal to courts if they feel being discriminated. Disincentives to voting generally do not constitute genuine obstacles.
 5
 4
 3


While the procedures for the registration of voters and voting are de jure non-discriminatory, isolated cases of discrimination occur in practice. For some citizens, disincentives to voting constitute significant obstacles.
 2
 1

The procedures for the registration of voters or voting have systemic discriminatory effects. De facto, a substantial number of adult citizens are excluded from national elections.
Voting and Registration Rights
8
Law No. 20,568, enacted in January 2012, and Law No . 20,669, enacted in April 2013, changed the voter registration system, eliminating the voluntary registration and compulsory voting system and replacing it with automatic registration and a voluntary right to vote for citizens older than 18 years. This reform promoted the participation of younger and especially first-time voters in the 2013 presidential elections. This law also introduced assisted voting for citizens with disabilities. Since April 2014, Chileans living abroad have been automatically registered to vote if they are registered correctly with the register office. Thus, in the presidential elections of 2017, Chileans living abroad will be able to participate for the first time in national elections.

These individuals are now in theory allowed to participate in presidential elections, presidential primaries and national plebiscites (which are not explicitly provided for by the constitution), but not in parliamentary or municipal elections. However, only the electoral-roll inscription is carried out automatically today.

Individuals who have been charged with a felony and sentenced to prison for more than three years and one day, as well as people classified as terrorists, lose their suffrage rights. Prisoners who have not been charged but remain on remand also lose their right to vote. Nevertheless, Law No. 20,568 eliminated penalties previously dealt to registered voters who did not vote and failed to have an explicit and officially approved excuse for not doing so. The fact that the act of voting is now completely voluntary is questioned by some politicians and intellectuals who argue that voting not only represents a civil right but also a civil duty. Fears were raised by academics that the transition to voluntary voting would be accompanied by a bias toward middle- and upper-class voters, since lower-class and marginalized voters would disproportionately stay home. These fears ultimately turned out to be unjustified, as balloting has demonstrated no significant bias with regard to socioeconomic status in comparison to previous elections. However, voter-turnout rates dropped to an historical low in the municipal elections of 2016.

Citations:
http://www.bcn.cl/leyfacil/recurso/voto-de-chilenos-en-el-extranjero

http://www.biobiochile.cl/2014/04/30/presidenta-bachelet-promulga-ley-de-voto-chileno-en-el-extranjero.shtml

https://www.servel.cl/voto-de-chilenos-en-el-exterior-2/

To what extent is private and public party financing and electoral campaign financing transparent, effectively monitored and in case of infringement of rules subject to proportionate and dissuasive sanction?

10
 9

The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring to that respect. Effective measures to prevent evasion are effectively in place and infringements subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
 8
 7
 6


The state enforces that donations to political parties are made public and provides for independent monitoring. Although infringements are subject to proportionate sanctions, some, although few, loopholes and options for circumvention still exist.
 5
 4
 3


The state provides that donations to political parties shall be published. Party financing is subject to some degree of independent monitoring but monitoring either proves regularly ineffective or proportionate sanctions in case of infringement do not follow.
 2
 1

The rules for party and campaign financing do not effectively enforce the obligation to make the donations public. Party and campaign financing is neither monitored independently nor, in case of infringements, subject to proportionate sanctions.
Party Financing
6
In general, party and campaign financing processes have not been very transparent in the past. Upper limits to campaign financing are set by law, but enforcement and oversight are not very effective. Electoral campaign expenditures are financed by public funds and private financing, but ineffective monitoring often enables the latter to be rather opaque. De facto, there are no real mechanisms for applying penalties in the event of irregularities. Law No. 20,640, approved in October 2012, made it possible for a political coalition to support candidates on a joint basis. This process is voluntary and binding, and joint campaign expenditures are limited by the current public-transparency law (Ley de Transparencia, Límite y Control del Gasto Electoral). This limit is set at 10% of the amount allocated for normal elections.

At the end of 2014, wide-ranging evidence of corruption in political-party funding came to light. As the investigation progressed, more and more politicians and political parties have turned out to be involved, across the political spectrum. Known as “Pentagate,” the scandal reached such a dimension that the former head of the Chilean General Accounting Office (Contraloría de la República) said in his end-of-term speech in April 2014: “We can’t shut our eyes, corruption has arrived.” The scandals have been particularly striking given that Chile has always tended to be considered an exception to the endemic corruption found elsewhere in Latin America.

As a response to this crisis, President Bachelet convoked an anti-corruption council that proposed several anti-corruption measures, including new restrictions on private campaign funding, which were largely enacted in April 2016. With the new Law No. 20,900, which modifies former Law No. 19,884, a higher base amount is provided by the state for electoral campaigns, but enterprises are barred from providing funding to political parties or campaigns. In addition, anonymous donations have become illegal and all donations must be transparently registered. During the period under review, court hearings on irregularities in political party funding and relating to some of the already mentioned corruption scandals were still ongoing. Imposed sanctions have tended to be rather light. It remains to be seen how the new law will impact electoral campaigns and political financing, especially in the context of the presidential elections of 2017, and if the responsible authorities will be able to monitor the law’s adherence.

Citations:
http://www.servel.cl/financiamiento-de-campanas/

http://www.latercera.com/noticia/politica/2016/04/674-676080-9-estas-son-las-normas-que-fija-la-nueva-ley-para-regular-el-financiamiento-de.shtml

Do citizens have the opportunity to take binding political decisions when they want to do so?

10
 9

Citizens have the effective opportunity to actively propose and take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through popular initiatives and referendums. The set of eligible issues is extensive, and includes national, regional, and local issues.
 8
 7
 6


Citizens have the effective opportunity to take binding decisions on issues of importance to them through either popular initiatives or referendums. The set of eligible issues covers at least two levels of government.
 5
 4
 3


Citizens have the effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure. The set of eligible issues is limited to one level of government.
 2
 1

Citizens have no effective opportunity to vote on issues of importance to them through a legally binding measure.
Popular Decision-Making
3
The Chilean constitution is one of the most restrictive on the topic of direct democracy (e.g., referenda, plebiscites and citizens’ initiatives) in present-day Latin America. The last nationwide plebiscite was initiated by the government in 1989, albeit during a military dictatorship and in the midst of the agreement process on the transition to democracy. At the moment, the national government does not contemplate mechanisms for direct democracy, though they have been called for by various civil society groups and movements. At the municipal level, the Organic Constitutional Law of Municipalities (2002) provides for popular consultations (i.e., plebiscites). These may be either top-down (at the initiative of a mayor, with the agreement of the council, or by the municipal council itself, with a two-thirds majority) or bottom-up (by a minimum of 10% of a municipality’s citizens). Thus, the possibility to initiate referenda at the municipal level officially exists, but these referenda are not necessarily legally binding and may be ignored by the authorities.

Access to Information

#21

To what extent are the media independent from government?

10
 9

Public and private media are independent from government influence; their independence is institutionally protected and fully respected by the incumbent government.
 8
 7
 6


The incumbent government largely respects the independence of media. However, there are occasional attempts to exert influence.
 5
 4
 3


The incumbent government seeks to ensure its political objectives indirectly by influencing the personnel policies, organizational framework or financial resources of public media, and/or the licensing regime/ market access for private media.
 2
 1

Major media outlets are frequently influenced by the incumbent government promoting its partisan political objectives. To ensure pro-government media reporting, governmental actors exert direct political pressure and violate existing rules of media regulation or change them to benefit their interests.
Media Freedom
8
In general, the rules and practice of media supervision guarantee sufficient independence for public media. Privately owned media organizations are subject to licensing and regulatory regimes that ensure independence from the government. During the last two years, the Freedom House index evaluated Chile´s freedom of press as “free” whereas in 2015 it was still evaluated as “partly free.” The report’s authors argued that the level of violence and harassment faced by journalist covering protests had significantly decreased in recent years. The index takes into account “the legal environment in which media operate, political influences on reporting and access to information, and economic pressures on content and the dissemination of news.” The latest Press Freedom Index 2017, published by the international NGO Reporters Without Borders, ranked Chile 33rd, a dropping two places compared to the previous year. Nonetheless, covering demonstrations still remains difficult. Given Chile’s media landscape and its ideological and economic concentration, the degree of government influence over the media depends largely on which coalition is leading the government and clearly limits democratic debate.

Citations:
Freedom House Index (freedom of the press):
https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/freedom-press-2017

Reporters without borders press freedom index:
https://rsf.org/en/chile

To what extent are the media characterized by an ownership structure that ensures a pluralism of opinions?

10
 9

Diversified ownership structures characterize both the electronic and print media market, providing a well-balanced pluralism of opinions. Effective anti-monopoly policies and impartial, open public media guarantee a pluralism of opinions.
 8
 7
 6


Diversified ownership structures prevail in the electronic and print media market. Public media compensate for deficiencies or biases in private media reporting by representing a wider range of opinions.
 5
 4
 3


Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize either the electronic or the print media market. Important opinions are represented but there are no or only weak institutional guarantees against the predominance of certain opinions.
 2
 1

Oligopolistic ownership structures characterize both the electronic and the print media market. Few companies dominate the media, most programs are biased, and there is evidence that certain opinions are not published or are marginalized.
Media Pluralism
5
In general terms, the high concentration of media ownership in Chile notoriously limits democratic debate. This is especially the case among print media, which is practically a duopoly. The El Mercurio group and Copesa together account for much of the country’s print sector, have the greatest share of readers and control of a considerable amount of the country’s advertising portfolio. The papers owned by these two dominant groups offer essentially uniform political-ideological projects, editorial positions, styles and news coverage. However, these newspapers tend to be more influential among Chile’s upper-middle class and political elites than among the broader public. The official government daily, La Nación, presents views and opinions that run counter to those in the dominant papers; however, its print edition was eliminated during the administration of former President Sebastián Piñera (although it is still accessible online). A similar pattern can be found in the public-television sector, but on the whole the electronic sector offers a more diversified scope of opinion (especially on local radio stations and in a few online publications). In general, there is a very narrow informational mainstream, with the government-owned TVN being the most dominant free station. Whether it presents politically balanced views and provides access to all viewpoints is a point of debate. By the end of the period under review, TVN has been declared bankrupt and the future of the channel seemed uncertain as the parliament will have to decide by the end of 2017 whether to provide public funds and guarantee its functioning or privatize the channel.

To what extent can citizens obtain official information?

10
 9

Legal regulations guarantee free and easy access to official information, contain few, reasonable restrictions, and there are effective mechanisms of appeal and oversight enabling citizens to access information.
 8
 7
 6


Access to official information is regulated by law. Most restrictions are justified, but access is sometimes complicated by bureaucratic procedures. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms permit citizens to enforce their right of access.
 5
 4
 3


Access to official information is partially regulated by law, but complicated by bureaucratic procedures and some poorly justified restrictions. Existing appeal and oversight mechanisms are often ineffective.
 2
 1

Access to official information is not regulated by law; there are many restrictions of access, bureaucratic procedures and no or ineffective mechanisms of enforcement.
Access to Government Information
7
The statute on access to public information (Ley No. 20,285 sobre Transparencia de la Función Pública y Acceso a la Información de los Órganos de la Administración del Estado) was approved by Congress in August 2008 and implemented in 2009. It stipulates two dimensions of transparency. The first is “passive transparency,” and obliges all public institutions and authorities of the government to respond to any request for information constituted as public information within a 20-day period (with extensions of up to ten more days possible). The other dimension is that of “active transparency,” and requires governmental ministries and agencies to publish broad information on various topics on their websites. The statute also creates the Transparency Council (Consejo para la Transparencia), an independent agency responsible for monitoring transparency, regulating transparency practices and compelling public services to provide information should they refuse to do so. The Transparency Council’s board of directors is nominated by the executive and approved by the Senate. Information classified as a state secret is exempted from these transparency stipulations. This remains an important clause, as there are about 20 Chilean laws that are officially still classified as secret. These laws derive in some cases from the beginning of the 20th century, and in others from the military regime. Most are actually common knowledge, but remain formally treated as secret. Although the Transparency Law (Ley de Transparencia) leaves very little room for administrative interpretation, there have been cases of negligence regarding access to and publication of relevant information.

Citations:
http://www.freedominfo.org/regions/latin-america/chile/

http://www.chiletransparente.cl/

http://www.leychile.cl/Navegar?idNorma=276363&idParte=0

http://anticorrp.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Chile-Background-Report_Final.pdf (S. 14)

Civil Rights and Political Liberties

#28

To what extent does the state respect and protect civil rights and how effectively are citizens protected by courts against infringements of their rights?

10
 9

All state institutions respect and effectively protect civil rights. Citizens are effectively protected by courts against infringements of their rights. Infringements present an extreme exception.
 8
 7
 6


The state respects and protects rights, with few infringements. Courts provide protection.
 5
 4
 3


Despite formal protection, frequent infringements of civil rights occur and court protection often proves ineffective.
 2
 1

State institutions respect civil rights only formally, and civil rights are frequently violated. Court protection is not effective.
Civil Rights
7
The state and the courts efficiently protect civil rights, but certain specific conflicts (e.g., those related to indigenous groups) have led to human-rights violations in the recent past. In conflicts involving ethnic minorities, such as the ongoing conflict regarding the Mapuche minority in the southern region of Chile, anti-terror legislation – which dates back to 1984 and violates international conventions signed by Chile – have been applied in recent years. Additionally, within the context of the Mapuche conflict, it is quite noticeable that there have been multiple cases of detainees being held significantly longer than average, independent from the respective results of an investigation.

Furthermore, some occasional conflicts between civilians and the military or the police are overseen by military courts, whose impartiality is questionable. In general, the enormous income gap between population groups tends to marginalize the poorest people, who receive less state protection against infringements of their rights and for whom access to justice is more difficult.

In November 2016, Law No. 20,968 was enacted which modified the competences of the military justice defined by Law No. 20,477. Henceforth, no civilian – perpetrator or victim – will be prosecuted by military courts. The new law also introduced the crime of torture into the criminal code.

Citations:
http://www.latercera.com/noticia/bachelet-pide-perdon-al-pueblo-mapuche-presenta-medidas-la-araucania/

https://prensa.presidencia.cl/comunicado.aspx?id=56160

https://www.bcn.cl/leyfacil/recurso/delito-de-tortura

http://radio.uchile.cl/2016/12/02/nueva-modificacion-a-la-justicia-militar-un-avance-hacia-el-pleno-estado-de-derecho-en-chile/

To what extent does the state concede and protect political liberties?

10
 9

All state institutions concede and effectively protect political liberties.
 8
 7
 6


All state institutions for the most part concede and protect political liberties. There are only few infringements.
 5
 4
 3


State institutions concede political liberties but infringements occur regularly in practice.
 2
 1

Political liberties are unsatisfactory codified and frequently violated.
Political Liberties
7
In general, political rights are protected by the constitution and legislation, and are enforced by government policy and practice. Nevertheless, police interventions have sometimes crossed the line from guaranteeing law and order into repression – especially during the more intense period of the student movement and protests by Chile’s indigenous people. Furthermore, the biased media landscape limits equal access to information and the opportunity to communicate different political opinions and versions of conflict situations.

How effectively does the state protect against different forms of discrimination?

10
 9

State institutions effectively protect against and actively prevent discrimination. Cases of discrimination are extremely rare.
 8
 7
 6


State anti-discrimination protections are moderately successful. Few cases of discrimination are observed.
 5
 4
 3


State anti-discrimination efforts show limited success. Many cases of discrimination can be observed.
 2
 1

The state does not offer effective protection against discrimination. Discrimination is widespread in the public sector and in society.
Non-discrimination
6
In general terms, political rights are protected by legislature and government bodies. Major failings can be seen, for example, in the case of the Mapuche indigenous conflict in the southern part of Chile. The Mapuche are not constitutionally recognized as an ethnic minority with collective rights. Despite official denials, some Mapuche captives claim to be political prisoners. There have been some important attempts to diminish discrimination, such as the Civil Union Agreement (Acuerdo de Unión Civil) that allows for the official acceptance of same-sex unions. The law on this issue was enacted in October 2015. In June 2017, President Bachelet officially apologized to the Mapuches for the mistakes and horrors (errores y horrores) committed or tolerated by the state toward these communities and presented the Plan de Reconocimiento y Desarrollo (Plan for Recognition and Development) Araucanía. This initiative seeks the recognition of collective rights and their language (mapuzungung), introduces a holiday in their honor (Día Nacional de los Pueblos Originarios) and creates the Ministry of the Indigenous Peoples and the Council of Indigenous Peoples.

With regard to gender, Chile is ranked 63 out of 144 countries in the latest Global Gender Gap Index (2017); its parity-imparity score (ranging from 0.00 = imparity to 1.00 = parity) is 0.704. Both figures represent an improvement compared to last year. Only about 16% of Chile’s serving deputies and senators are women. These averages are much lower than comparable shares elsewhere in Latin America or in the OECD as a whole. In order to improve the ratio of women representatives, a new electoral law obligates political parties’ electoral slates to be composed of at least 40% women beginning in the 2017 elections and provides financial incentives for the candidacy and election of women. Furthermore, a new labor reform package enacted in August 2016 implemented a 30% female quota for the representatives of labor unions.

Gender-discrimination issues are relevant in other spheres as well. For example, health care insurance is twice as expensive for women as for men due to maternity costs. Many other social, political, economic and legal policies and practices lead (directly or indirectly) to gender and ethnic discrimination.

Citations:
Interparlamentary Union, Situation as of 1. October 2017
http://archive.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm

Global Gender Gap Index (2017)
https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-gender-gap-report-2017

http://www.t13.cl/noticia/nacional/bachelet-anuncia-creacion-ministerio-pueblos-indigena

Rule of Law

#17

To what extent do government and administration act on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions to provide legal certainty?

10
 9

Government and administration act predictably, on the basis of and in accordance with legal provisions. Legal regulations are consistent and transparent, ensuring legal certainty.
 8
 7
 6


Government and administration rarely make unpredictable decisions. Legal regulations are consistent, but leave a large scope of discretion to the government or administration.
 5
 4
 3


Government and administration sometimes make unpredictable decisions that go beyond given legal bases or do not conform to existing legal regulations. Some legal regulations are inconsistent and contradictory.
 2
 1

Government and administration often make unpredictable decisions that lack a legal basis or ignore existing legal regulations. Legal regulations are inconsistent, full of loopholes and contradict each other.
Legal Certainty
7
Acts and decisions made by the government and official administrative bodies take place strictly in accordance with legislation. There are moderately effective autonomous institutions that play an oversight role with regard to government activity, including the Office of the General Comptroller (Contraloría General de la República) and the monitoring functions of the Chamber of Deputies. Government actions are moderately predictable and conform largely to limitations and restrictions imposed by law.

To what extent do independent courts control whether government and administration act in conformity with the law?

10
 9

Independent courts effectively review executive action and ensure that the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 8
 7
 6


Independent courts usually manage to control whether the government and administration act in conformity with the law.
 5
 4
 3


Courts are independent, but often fail to ensure legal compliance.
 2
 1

Courts are biased for or against the incumbent government and lack effective control.
Judicial Review
8
Chile’s judiciary is independent and performs its oversight functions appropriately. Mechanisms for judicial review of legislative and executive acts are in place. The 2005 reforms enhanced the Constitutional Tribunal’s autonomy and jurisdiction concerning the constitutionality of laws and administrative acts. Arguably, the Tribunal is one of the most powerful such tribunals in the world, able to block and strike down government decrees and protect citizens’ rights against powerful private entities. In November 2016, Law No. 20,968 was enacted which modified the competences of the military justice defined by Law No. 20,477. Henceforth, no civilian – perpetrator or victim – will be prosecuted by military courts. The new law also introduced the crime of torture into the criminal code.

During the current evaluation period, Chilean courts demonstrated their independence through their handling of the corruption scandals revealed over the past few years, which have included political parties and a large number of the country’s politicians. Nevertheless, the sentences imposed thus far have tended to be rather light.

Citations:
https://prensa.presidencia.cl/comunicado.aspx?id=56160

https://www.bcn.cl/leyfacil/recurso/delito-de-tortura

To what extent does the process of appointing (supreme or constitutional court) justices guarantee the independence of the judiciary?

10
 9

Justices are appointed in a cooperative appointment process with special majority requirements.
 8
 7
 6


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies with special majority requirements or in a cooperative selection process without special majority requirements.
 5
 4
 3


Justices are exclusively appointed by different bodies without special majority requirements.
 2
 1

All judges are appointed exclusively by a single body irrespective of other institutions.
Appointment of Justices
9
Members of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts are appointed collaboratively by the executive and the Senate. During recent years, there have been several cases of confrontation between the executive power and the judiciary, for example in the area of environmental issues, where the Supreme Court has affirmed its autonomy and independence from political influences.

To what extent are public officeholders prevented from abusing their position for private interests?

10
 9

Legal, political and public integrity mechanisms effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 8
 7
 6


Most integrity mechanisms function effectively and provide disincentives for public officeholders willing to abuse their positions.
 5
 4
 3


Some integrity mechanisms function, but do not effectively prevent public officeholders from abusing their positions.
 2
 1

Public officeholders can exploit their offices for private gain as they see fit without fear of legal consequences or adverse publicity.
Corruption Prevention
6
In general terms, the integrity of the public sector is a given, especially on the national level. The most notable problem consists in the strong ties between high-level officials and the private sector. Political and economic elites overlap significantly, thus reinforcing privilege. This phenomenon was particularly problematic under the previous government of Sebastián Piñera, as many members of the Alianza – including President Sebastián Piñera himself – were powerful businesspeople. The phenomenon can still be observed in the government of Michelle Bachelet, though at a less extreme level. Such entanglements produce conflicts of interest in the policymaking process (e.g., in regulatory affairs). There are no regulations enabling monitoring of conflicts of interest for high-ranking politicians (e.g., the president and ministers). However, there are some independent projects on the rise to arouse public awareness on this issue.

The scandals revealed in recent years have shown that corruption and abuses of power within Chile’s political and economic elite, as well as some cases of higher ranked public servants (as in the case of the police and the military), is in fact more common than (international) indicators regarding corruption and transparency suggest. It is unclear how state institutions will confront these challenges. During the period under review, a minister and an undersecretary of state of the former government were convicted of corruption. As a response to this crisis, President Bachelet convoked a council (Consejo Asesor Presidencial contra los Conflictos de Interés, el Tráfico de Influencias y la Corrupción) that in its final report (April 2015) proposed several anti-corruption measures intended to prevent abuse of office. Due to their conclusions, restrictions on private campaign funding (Ley sobre Fortalecimiento y Transparencia de la Democracia) and the creation of a public register for all lobbyists were implemented in 2016.

Citations:
http://consejoanticorrupcion.cl/

http://consejoanticorrupcion.cl/lanzamiento-final/

https://www.leylobby.gob.cl/

http://www.latercera.com/noticia/estas-son-las-normas-que-fija-la-nueva-ley-para-regular-el-financiamiento-de-campanas-politicas/
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