Page:EB1911 - Volume 06.djvu/164

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ADMINISTRATION]
151
CHILE

days, and with the consent of the council of state may convene it in extraordinary session. Congress has the privilege of giving or withholding its confidence in the acts of the government.

The executive is a president who is elected for a term of five years and is ineligible for the next succeeding term. He is chosen by electors, who are elected by departments in the manner prescribed for deputies and in the proportion of three electors for each deputy. These elections are held on the 25th of June in the last year of a presidential term, the electors cast their votes on the 25th of July, and the counting takes place in a joint session of the two chambers of congress on the 30th of August, congress in joint session having the power to complete the election when no candidate has been duly chosen by the electors. The formal installation of the president takes place on the 18th of September, the anniversary of the declaration of national independence. In addition to the prerogatives commonly invested in his office, the president is authorized to supervise the judiciary, to nominate candidates for the higher ecclesiastical offices, to intervene in the enforcement of ecclesiastical decrees, papal bulls, &c., to exercise supervisory police powers, and to appoint the intendants of provinces and the governors of departments, who in turn appoint the sub-delegates and inspectors of subordinate political divisions. The president, who is paid £2250 per annum, must be native-born, not less than thirty years of age, and eligible for election to the lower house. He is assisted and advised by a cabinet of six ministers whose departments are: interior, foreign affairs, worship and colonization, justice and public instruction, war and marine, finance, industry and public works. In case of a vacancy in the presidential office, the minister of interior becomes the “vice-president of the republic” and discharges the duties of the executive office until a successor can be legally elected. A council of state of 12 members, consisting of the president, 6 members appointed by congress and 5 by the president, has advisory functions, and its approval is required in many executive acts and appointments.

The provinces are administered by intendentes, and the departments by gobernadores, both appointees of the national executive. The sub-delegacies are governed by sub-delegados appointed by the governors, and the districts by inspectores appointed by the sub-delegates. Directly and indirectly; therefore, the administration of all these political divisions is in the hands of the president, who, in like manner, makes and controls the appointments of all judicial functionaries, subject, however, to receiving recommendations of candidates from the courts and to submitting appointments to the approval of the council of state. This gives the national executive absolute control of all administrative matters in every part of the republic. The police force also is a national organization under the immediate control of the minister of interior, and the public prosecutor in every department is a representative of the national government. There is no legislative body in any of these political divisions, nor any administrative official directly representing the people, with this exception: under the law of the 22nd of December 1891, municipalities, or communes, are created and invested with certain specified powers of local government affecting local police services, sanitation, local improvements, primary instruction, industrial and business regulations, &c.; they are authorized to borrow money for sanitary improvements, road-making, education, &c., and to impose certain specified taxes for their support; these municipalities elect their own alcaldes, or mayors, and municipal councils, the latter having legislative powers within the limits of the law mentioned.

Justice.—The judicial power consists of a Supreme Court of Justice of seven members located in the national capital, which exercises supervisory and disciplinary authority over all the law courts of the republic; six courts of appeal, in Tacna, Serena, Valparaiso, Santiago, Talca and Concepción; tribunals of first instance in the department capitals; and minor courts, or justices of the peace, in the sub-delegacies and districts. The jury system does not exist in Chile, and juries are unknown except in cases where the freedom of the press has been abused. All trials, therefore, are heard by one or more judges, and appeals may be taken from a lower to a higher court. The government is represented in each department by a public prosecutor. The police officials, who are under the direct control of the minister of interior, also exercise some degree of judicial authority. This force is essentially military in its organization, and consisted in 1901 of 500 officers, 934 non-commissioned officers and 5400 police soldiers. Small forces of local policemen are supported by various municipalities. The judges of the higher courts are appointed by the national executive, and those of the minor tribunals by the federal official governing the political division in which they are located.

Army.—For military purposes the republic is divided into five districts, the northern desert provinces forming the first, the central provinces as far south as the Bio-Bio the second and third, and the southern provinces and territory the fourth and fifth. Large sums of money have been expended in arms, equipment, guns and fortifications. The army is organized on the German model and has been trained by European officers who have been employed both for the school and regiment. Though the president and minister of war are the nominal heads of the army, its immediate direction is concentrated in a general staff comprising six service departments, at the head of which is a chief of staff. After the triumph of the revolutionists in the civil war of 1891, the army was reorganized under the direction of Colonel Emil Körner, an accomplished German officer, who subsequently served as chief of the general staff. In 1904 the permanent force consisted of 12 battalions of infantry, 6 regiments of cavalry, 4 regiments of mountain artillery, 1 regiment of horse artillery, 2 regiments of coast artillery, and 5 companies of engineers—aggregating 915 officers and 4757 men. To this nucleus were added 6160 recruits, the contingent for that year of young men twenty-one years of age compelled to serve with the colours. Under the law of the 5th of September 1900, military service is obligatory for all citizens between eighteen and forty-five years, all young men of twenty-one years being required to serve a certain period with the regular force. After this period they are transferred to the 1st reserve for 9 years, and then to the 2nd reserve. The military rifle adopted for all three branches of the service is the Mauser, 1895 model, of 7 mm. calibre, and the batteries are provided with Krupp guns of 7 and 7.5 cm. calibre. Military instruction is given in a well-organized military school at Santiago, a war academy and a school of military engineering.

Navy.—The Chilean navy is essentially British in organization and methods, and all its best fighting ships were built in British yards. In 1906 the effective fighting force consisted of 1 battle ship, 2 belted cruisers, 4 protected cruisers, 3 torpedo gunboats, 6 destroyers and 8 modern torpedo boats. In addition to these there are several inferior armed vessels of various kinds which bring the total up to 40, not including transports and other auxiliaries. The administration of the navy, under the president and minister of war and marine, is confided to a general naval staff, called the “Direccion jeneral de la Armada,” with headquarters at Valparaiso. Its duties also include the military protection of the ports, the hydrographic survey of the coast, and the lighthouse service. The personnel comprises about 465 officers, including those of the staff, and 4000 petty officers and men. There is a military port at Talcahuano, in Concepción Bay, strongly fortified, and provided with arsenal and repair shops, a large dry dock and a patent slip. The naval school, which occupies one of the noteworthy edifices of Valparaiso, is attended by 90 cadets and is noted for the thoroughness of its instruction.

Education.—Under the old conservative régime very little was done for the public school outside the larger towns. As a large proportion of the labouring classes lived in the small towns and rural communities, they received comparatively little attention. The increasing influence of more liberal ideas greatly improved the situation with reference to popular education, and the government now makes vigorous efforts to bring its public school system within the reach of all. The constitution provides that free instruction must be provided for the people. School attendance is not compulsory, however, and the gain upon illiteracy (75%) appears to be very slow. The government also gives primary instruction to recruits when serving with the colours, which, with the increasing employment of the people in the towns, helps to stimulate a desire for education among the lower classes. Education in Chile is very largely under the control of the national government, the minister of justice and public instruction being charged with the direction of all public schools from the university down to the smallest and most remote primary school. The system includes the University of Chile and National Institute at Santiago, lyceums or high schools in all the provincial capitals and larger towns, normal schools at central points for the training of public school teachers, professional and industrial schools, military schools and primary schools. Instruction in all these is free, and under certain conditions text-books are supplied. In the normal schools, where the pupils are trained to enter the public service as primary teachers, not only is the tuition free, but also books, board, lodging and everything needed in their school work. The national university at Santiago comprises faculties of theology, law and political science, medicine and pharmacy, natural sciences and mathematics, and philosophy. The range of studies is wide, and the attendance large. The National Institute at Santiago is the principal high school of the secondary grade in Chile. There were 30 of these high schools for males and 12 for females in 1903, with an aggregate of 11,504 matriculated students. The normal schools for males are located at Santiago, Chillán and