Chile's Senate has voted to change the nation's constitution to reduce powers given to the military by former dictator Augsto Pinochet.

The reform measures were approved late Wednesday and they eliminate at least nine appointed Senate seats reserved for former military officers. They also reduce the president's term from six to four years.

The reforms undo measures instituted by Mr. Pinochet that were aimed at sustaining his military regime which ruled from 1973 to 1990. Observers have praised the reform package as a major victory for democracy.

The lower house of Congress already approved the measures and following a symbolic vote by a joint session featuring both bodies, it will go to President Ricardo Lagos for his signature.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.