Under the constitution of 1980, as amended in 1989 and 1994, the president—who is both chief of state and head of government—is elected to a single six-year term. The legislature has two houses, the senate and the chamber of deputies. The senate consists of 38 elected members, 8 appointed members, and all former presidents. The chamber of deputies has 120 elected members. Senators serve eight-year terms; deputies, four-year terms. The judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court. Appellate and lower courts are distributed throughout the country.

For administrative purposes the country is divided into 15 regions, including the Metropolitan Region, which contains the capital, Santiago. Each region is presided over by an appointed governor. Voting is mandatory for all adult citizens.