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Frei Montalva, Eduardo (1911–82)

Subject History

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


President of Chile (1964–70). The son of a Swiss immigrant, he studied law in Santiago. Extremely active in student politics, Frei was elected President of the National Association of Catholic Students. In 1948 he was elected a senator. The political centre had lost a great deal of credibility as a result of the administration of 1946–52 (when it outlawed and persecuted its former allies, the communists), but in 1957 a process of recovery began with the formation of the Christian Democratic Party ( Partido Democrático Cristiano , PDC) through the fusion of the National Falange with the Social Democratic, Radical, and Conservative parties. The following year, 1958, Frei stood as the PDC's presidential candidate, finishing third. Frei was finally elected President in 1964 due to the tactical decision of the right, alarmed at the prospect of a left-wing victory under Salvador allende, not to present its own candidate, as well as through the financial backing of European Christian Democrats and the US (including the cia). None the less Frei's programme, embodied in the campaign slogan of ‘Revolution in Liberty’ (that is to say, radical change within the existing constitutional framework), overlapped strongly with that of the left. Indeed, the Christian Democrats had already done much to promote ‘popular power’ through the establishment of grassroots organizations such as neighbourhood ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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