Chile Parliamentarism Part II

The government of Pedro Montt Montt

Pedro Montt Montt represented for Chile the opportunity to regain order and national progress, and he came to the presidency surrounded by great prestige. He had a strong personality and a simple presence. He took office a month after the Valparaíso earthquake and had to start rebuilding and helping the victims of the catastrophe.

During his government he promoted new constructions, approved the project for the construction of the longitudinal railway, which would link the country from Tacna to Puerto Montt, ordered the construction of the Ancud-Castro railway, works that were completed in 1913, in 1910 he inaugurated the Trans-Andean Railway, at through the mountain range in front of the city of Los Andes, and the works of the port of Valparaíso began, the construction of the Normal School of Preceptors of La Serena, the School and Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Physical Education, the Commercial Institute and the School of Pharmacy.

During his tenure, one of the most tragic events of this time occurred, known as the massacre of the Santa María de Iquique school in 1907, which affected a group of nitrate workers and their families, who demanded better salaries, security measures. industrial and the termination of the supply monopoly exercised by the pulperías (warehouses dependent on the nitrate offices). This group of workers and their families was housed in the School of Santa María. A request made to evacuate the compound sent hundreds of families out, but an incident caused the military to open fire. The calculation showed a balance of 500 to 2,000 people killed in the event. Pedro Montt’s mandate did not achieve the expected success.

The government of Ramón Barros Luco

Ramón Barros Luco was the successor president, he came to the presidency at the age of 75 and with vast political experience. His government was characterized by not coming into conflict with Congress or trying to dominate the opposition. He governed alternately with the Liberal Alliance and the Coalition.

During his term, it was necessary to reform some laws due to the proliferation of bribery and electoral fraud. He was the promoter of the enactment of the Elections Law of 1914 and the final text of the General Elections Law of 1915, establishing the opening of new registries, which would be renewed every nine years.

The construction of the School of Engineering, the artificial port of San Antonio, the port constructions in Valparaíso, roads, irrigation canals; The establishment of drinking water and sewerage networks continued. The old building they occupied on Avenida de las Delicias, next to Cerro Santa Lucía, was acquired from the nuns of Santa Clara to build the National Library, the Historical Museum and the National Archive on the same property. He founded the José Victorino Lastarria high school, the Military Aeronautical Service and a Special School for the training of pilots was created. He signed a Pact of Non-Aggression, Consultation and Arbitration, known as Pacto ABC, between Argentina, Brazil and Chile, destined to assure the pacific solution of the international controversies.

The government of Arturo Alessandri Palma

According to, Arturo Alessandri Palma becomes president and with his arrival the end of the parliamentary regime. Even though he enjoyed popularity and had a great oratory, he had strong limitations in his projects, which brought about the fall and the loss of prestige of the parliament. During his tenure, three important legal bodies were created: the law that created the Central Bank, the law for the exclusive patrimony of married women, and the Political Constitution of 1925. For the approval of the latter, Alessandri summoned the citizens to a plebiscite which was promulgated on September 18, 1925.

The most important norms established by this constitutional text are:
1. A strong Executive Power, that is, a presidential government regime elected by direct vote by the citizens.
2. Separation of Church and State. From that moment the residents of the republic were assured the free manifestation of all beliefs.
3. Establishment of the Election Qualifying Tribunal, to which the qualification of the elections of the members of Congress and of the President of the Republic was entrusted. This qualifying court was composed of ministers of the courts of justice and of former presidents or vice presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. [2]

The promulgation of this new Constitution, known as the “Constitution of 1925”, put an end to parliamentarism, establishing the presidential system of government, which is characterized by the performance of a strong Executive power.

Chile Parliamentarism 2