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Chilean Senators Agree to Amend Pinochet-Era Constitution - 2004-10-07

Senators in Chile have agreed to amend the 1980 constitution in order to end potential military meddling in the country's affairs.

Opposition senators joined forces with ruling party lawmakers to approve the changes.

One change would allow Chile's president to remove commanders of the four branches of the military. Another amendment calls for the elimination of nine non-elected Senate seats, ensuring all senators are democratically elected.

The changes would also make it possible for children born abroad to Chilean parents to obtain citizenship.

Chile's constitution was put in place during the 17-year military rule of former dictator General Augusto Pinochet, who ruled the country from 1973 to 1990. The government has been negotiating constitutional reform with the Chilean opposition for years.