This article describes the authoritarian institutions, political practices, and political culture of Chilean democracy before 1973. Although the military coup infringed constitutional procedures for government succession, the first measures taken by the military junta referenced existing constitutional, legislative, and administrative provisions as part of the effort to legitimize the coup. Examined in particular are pervasive use of constitutional regimes of exception (suspension or restriction of garantías constitucionales and expanded executive authority); application of extra-constitutional decree laws; delegation of legislative authority (facultades extraordinarias) to the executive branch; broad application of the penal code and legislation regulating the “internal security of the state” and “public order”; censorship and persecution of journalists, mass media, films, and private correspondence; surveillance and infiltration by secret police in unions, political parties, and social movements; use of the armed forces and national police (Carabineros) to control internal order, break strikes, and enforce arms control legislation; and jurisdiction of military courts over civilians for selected crimes defined in the Code of Military Justice.

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