Chile’s New Constitutional System: Presidential, Semi-Presidential, or Parliamentary? / El nuevo sistema constitucional en Chile: ¿Presidencial, Semi-Presidencial o Parlamentarismo?


Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 9:00am

9:00 am ET / 11:00 am Chile

This event is part of the Academic Forum for the New Constitution in Chile. It will be held in Spanish with simultaneous English interpretation. To register, click here.

Welcoming Remarks: Steven Levitsky, Director, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies; Professor of Government, Harvard University; Co-author, How Democracies Die
Keynote Speaker: John Carey, Associate Dean of Faculty for the Social Sciences; Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences, Darmouth College
Panelists: Pamela Figueroa, Academic, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Santiago de Chile; Academic Coordinator of the New Constitution Observatory; Valeria Palanza, Associate Professor of Politics; Deputy Director of the Institute of Political Science, Universidad Católica de Chile; Flavio Quezada, Professor of Administrative Law, Universidad de Valparaíso; Lucas Sierra, Associate Professor, School of Law, Universidad de Chile; Ignacio Walker, Senior Research Fellow, CIEPLAN (Center for Latin American Studies, Santiago)
Moderated by: Claudio Fuentes, Professor, Political Science, Universidad Diego Portales; Constitutional Laboratory Coordinator; Universidad Diego Portales; DRCLAS Luksic Visiting Scholar 2012-11

The choice of system of government is of fundamental importance when rewriting a Constitution. Like the rest of Latin America, Chile has a long tradition of presidentialism, and its 1980 Constitution created a powerful presidency. However, there is mounting evidence that “hyper-presidentialism” can destabilize democracies. In Chile today there is a near-consensus on the need to move away from hyper-presidentialism, but much disagreement about what should replace it. Should Chileans move toward attenuated presidentialism? Or should they consider a semi-presidential or parliamentary constitution?


Claudio Fuentes
Professor of Political Science, Universidad Diego Portales. Advisory Committee member of the Academic Forum for the New Constitution in Chile. Constitutional Laboratory Coordinator, Universidad Diego Portales Visiting Fellow DRCLAS Luksic, 2010-11. He is also a research associate at the Center for Intercultural and Indigenous Studies, CIIR. His academic interests have been oriented to the study of political processes in Chile and Latin America. His latest publications include The Unfinished Transition. The Chilean political process 1990-2020 (Editorial Cataluña, 2021), La Erosión de la Democracia (Editorial Cataluña, 2019), El Pacto (Ediciones UDP, 2012), El Fraude (Hueders, 2013), and as editor (together with R Castiglioni) of Comparative Policy on Latin America (UDP, 2015). Doctor of Political Science (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

John Carey
Associate Dean of Faculty for the Social Sciences. He was the      Chair of Dartmouth’s Department of Government from 2009-2015, and since 2014 has      served on the steering committee of Dartmouth’s      Quantitative Social Science program. He came to Dartmouth in 2003.  He is the co-founder of BrightLineWatch, which monitors threats to democracy in the United States.
He has published several books as well as lots of academic journal articles, book chapters, and assorted commentaries.  His most recent book: Campus Diversity: The Hidden Consensus (2020). In 2014, with co-author Matthew Shugart received the George H. Hallet Award from the American Political Science Association for 1992 book, Presidents & Assemblies, judged to have made a lasting contribution to the study of representation and elections. In 2012, was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.   
Also taught at the Universidad Católica de Chile, at Harvard, and at the Fundación Juan March in Madrid, Spain. Over the years, he’s consulted      on electoral system design in Afghanistan, Israel, Jordan, Nepal, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen. 
He received a      Ph.D. in P     olitical S     cience from the University of California, San Diego, in 1994      and b     efore that, he attended the University of Rochester (1994-1997) and Washington University in St. Louis (1997-2003). 

Pamela Figueroa 
Currently an academic in the Faculty of Humanities, at the Universidad de Santiago and an Academic Coordinator for the New Constitution Observatory ( She served as Head of the Studies Division for      the Ministry General Secretariat of the Presidency (2014-2018) advising on political reforms and the probity Agenda, and also coordinated of the Constituent process, convened by former President Michelle Bachelet. Member of the Technical Table of the Constituent Process in Chile (2019). She is Vice President of the Chilean Political Science Association, member of the Network of Politicians, and of the Advisory Council of the Observatory of Political Reforms for Latin America (UNAM-OEA).
Ph.D. in American Studies specializing in Political and Social Studies (IDEA-USACH), Master of Arts in Latin American Studies, specializing in Government Studies (Georgetown University).

Valeria Palanza
Associate Professor of Politics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She is currently the Deputy Director of the Institute of Political Science.
During 2014-2016, she was the Head of the P.h.D Program in Political Science at UC. 
Her research focuses on issues of democracy, institutional arrangements, the legislative process, and research methods, with an emphasis on cases in Latin America.
Her book Checking Presidential Power: Executive Decrees and the Legislative Process in New Democracies (Cambridge University Press, 2019) explains why presidents vary in their level of dependency on presidential decree to legislate.
Her most recent works have been published in the Comparative Political Studies journal, Revista de Ciencia Política, and Legislative Studies Quarterly. She is also the co-author of the book Congreso, Presidencia y Justicia: Materiales para su Estudio (1999 with Guillermo Molinelli and Gisela Sin). 
In 2009, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Kellog Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame and obtained her P.h.D from Princeton University in the same year. 

Flavio Quezada
Currently Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Valparaíso.
Lawyer. Bachelor’s Degree in Legal and Social Sciences, Universidad de Chile. Master in Law, specializing in Public Law, Universidad de Chile. Master in Public Law, Université de Bordeaux (France). P.h.D candidate in Law, University of Barcelona (Spain). He has been a Visiting Researcher at the Institut Maurice Hauriou, Université Toulouse I Capitole (France). Professionally, he has served as an advisor to various public bodies, such as the Constitutional Court, the Ministry of Education, the Superintendency of Education, among others. 

Lucas Sierra
Associate Professor at the School of Law at the University of Chile. He was a member of the "Legislation and Institutionality" working group, of the Government Commission on "Historical Truth and New Deal" regarding indigenous politics, as well as the Presidential Advisory Commission on Political Prison and Torture (Valech Commission), and the Presidential Advisory Council against Conflicts of Interest, Influence Trafficking and Corruption (Engel Commission). During 2018, he was also a member of the Interinstitutional Table on Appointment of Judges, convened by the Ministry of Justice. 
He is a consultant in regulatory matters, specializing in telecommunications. Member of the Chilean Bar Association A.G. and arbitrator of the Mediation and Arbitration Center (CAM) of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce.
Lawyer from Universidad de Chile. Master of Laws (LL.M.), Yale University, United States. Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge, England.

Ignacio Walker
Senior Research Fellow at CIEPLAN (Center for Latin American Studies, Santiago).
Professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. He was a Hewlett Fellow in Public Policies at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies (University of Notre Dame,      Fall 2018). Since the recovery of democracy in Chile in 1990, he has served as Senator of the Republic of Chile (2010-2018);  President of the Christian Democratic Party (2010-2015); 
President of CIEPLAN (2006-2008); Minister of Foreign Affairs (2004-2006) and as a Member of Parliament (1994-2002). He is the author of “Democracy in Latin America (between hope and despair)”      (Notre Dame Press, 2013). 
Ph. D. in Politics (Princeton University, 1989).  Lawyer;     Bachelor’s degree in Social and Legal Studies (University of Chile, 1980).

In Collaboration with / En colaboración con:

Instituto de Asuntos Públicos, Universidad de Chile
Instituto Milenio Fundamentos de los Datos
Laboratorio Constitucional, Universidad Diego Portales
Facultad de Derecho, Pontificia Universidad Católica
Instituto de Ciencia Política, Facultad de Historia, Geografía y Ciencia Política, Pontificia Universidad Católica
Harvard Association of Chilean Students

Escuela de Gobierno, Pontificia Universidad Católica

Co-Sponsored by / Copatrocinado por:

Fundación Luksic Scholars