Chile is divided into 15 regions (in Spanish, regiones; singular región), which are the country's first-level administrative division. Each region is headed by an intendant (intendente), appointed by the President of Chile, and an directly elected regional board (consejo regional).
The regions are divided into provinces (the second-level administrative division), each headed by a governor (gobernador) appointed by the President. There are 54 provinces in total. Provinces are divided into communes (the third and lowest level administrative division), which are governed by municipal councils.
Each region is given a Roman numeral, followed by a name (e.g. IV Región de Coquimbo, read as "fourth region of Coquimbo" in Spanish). When the regional structure was created, Roman numerals were assigned in ascending order from north to south, with the northernmost region designated as I (first) and the southernmost region as XII (twelfth). The Santiago Metropolitan Region, located in the center of the country and home to the country's capital Santiago, was excluded from this naming scheme and given instead the initials RM, standing for Región Metropolitana ("Metropolitan Region" in Spanish). With the creation of regions XIV and XVI in the south and XV in the north (XIII is not used) in 2007, the north-south Roman numeral order was broken.
The administrative divisions of Chile were created in 1974 and limited to 13 regions (this limitation was eliminated in 2005 via a constitutional reform). Previously, Chile was divided into 25 provinces, which were further divided into departments, and then into communes. The new territorial organization was implemented in phases with some initial "pilot regions" beginning to operate in 1974, extending the process on January 1, 1976 to the rest of the country. The Santiago Metropolitan Region began to operate in April 1980.
In December 2006, two new regions were created: the northern Arica and Parinacota Region, by taking out the two northernmost provinces from the Tarapacá Region; and Los Ríos Region in the south, encompassing the provinces of Valdivia, formerly part of the Los Lagos Region, and Ranco, formerly part of Valdivia. Both regions became operative in October 2007.
In August 2017, the Ñuble Region was created from what was then the Ñuble Province of the Biobío Region. The old province was divided into three new provinces: Diguillín, Punilla, and Itata. The new region's capital will be Chillán. It will become operational in September 2018..
Since their creation, each region is headed by a intendant (intendente) appointed by the President of Chile, and a regional board (consejo regional). The intendants count with the direct colaboration of the SEREMI (Ministerial Regional secretary) in specific matters, such as public health, education, agriculture, among others. The SEREMI are appointed by the President. Thanks to the Strengthening of Regionalization Law, since the 2020 municipal elections each intendant will be elected at the same date along with the mayors and municipal councillors, using a Two-round system. If no candidate obtains the minimum threshold 40% of the valid votes, a runoff election is held between the two candidates with the most votes, and the winner is elected by a simple majority.. Also the law will change the name Intendant to Regional Governor (Gobernador regional). The President will appoint a Regional presidential delegate (delegado presidencial regional), who will represent the national government in the region.
The board was elected among the members of the municipal councils (consejo municipal) of each commune of the respective region. Since the 2013 election the regional board members (Consejero regional) are directly elected using an using Open list proportional representation, with seats allocated using the D'Hondt method. Each of the 54 provinces are headed by a governor (gobernador) appointed by the President. Since 2020, the provincial governors will change their name to Provincial presidential delegate' (delegado presidencial provincial), still appointed by the President.
north to south
Región de Tarapacá
Región de Antofagasta
Región de Atacama
Región de Coquimbo
Región de Valparaíso
Región del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins
Región del Maule
Región del Bío Bío
Región de La Araucanía
Región de Los Lagos
Región de Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena
Región Metropolitana de Santiago
Región de Los Ríos
|Arica and Parinacota
Región de Arica y Parinacota