Chile's current constitution, approved by a referendum in the year 1980, replaced the earlier constitution from 1925. In its permanent dispositions, it gave the President of the Republic a large amount of power; some of these dispositions, such as the power of dissolving the Lower Chamber of Congress and serving 8 year terms with possibility of reelection, were modified or eliminated after 1990, when the country regained its democracy and the Congress was reestablished. It created some controversial new institutions, such as the Constitutional Tribunal and the National Security Council (COSENA). And it made part of the Senate designated by different institutions (President, Supreme Court, National Security Council).
In its temporary dispositions, ordered the transition from the military government, with Augusto Pinochet as President of the Republic, and the Legislative Power by the Military Junta (formed by the heads of the Navy, Air Force, National Police, and a representative of the Army, the head of the Army being president of the republic), to a civil one, with a time frame of eight years, during which the Legislative Power would still be the Military Junta. It set the first eight year presidential term for Pinochet, with a plebiscite in the eighth year, in which only one candidate, nominated by the Junta, would be accepted or not. The candidate, as expected, was Pinochet himself. While the steps to follow in the case of a triumph of the "yes" option were clearly delineated, the steps for the "no" triumph were less so, but still clear enough that no serious doubt emerged when the "no" option actually was victorious in the 1988 plebiscite.
After the plebiscite, several modifications to the constitution were agreed and subjected to referendum, among them a simplification on the mechanism of modification.
- Constitution of the Republic of Chile (http://confinder.richmond.edu/Chile.htm) (English translation)
- Text of Chilean constitutions (http://www.bcn.cl/pags/legislacion/leyes/constitucion_politica.htm) - Library of Congress of Chile (Spanish original)