The military government officially lifted a state of emergency Saturday that had been in place since a 1973 coup and distributed new rules allowing authorities to maintain control of public and private gatherings.

The decree lifting the state of emergency was published in the Diario Oficial, where government decisions are announced, and came three days before the president, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, was expected to be named the ruling junta's candidate for a national plebiscite on the fate of Chile's military administration.The lifting of the state of emergency was announced Wednesday but only became official with the publication in the Diario Oficial.

No date has been announced for the plebiscite, but it is widely expected to be held in October. Voters will be asked to vote "yes" or "no" if they want the junta's candidate to govern the next eight years.