Socialist Party of Chile

The Socialist Party of Chile (Spanish: Partido Socialista de Chile, or PS) is a political party within the centre-left Nueva Mayoría. Its historic leader was President of Chile Salvador Allende, who was deposed in a coup d'état by General Pinochet in 1973. Twenty-seven years later, Ricardo Lagos Escobar represented the Socialist Party in the 1999 presidential elections. He won 48.0% in the first round of voting and was elected with 51.3% in the second round. In the legislative elections on 16 December 2001, as part of the Coalition of Parties for Democracy, the party won 10 out of 117 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 5 out of 38 elected seats in the Senate. After the 2005 elections, the Party increased its seats to 15 and 8, respectively. In the 2009 elections, it retained 11 Congressional and 5 Senate seats.

Socialist Michelle Bachelet won the 2005 presidential election. She was the first female president of Chile and was succeeded by Sebastián Piñera in 2010. In the 2013 presidential election, she was elected again and took office in 2014.

Socialist Party of Chile

Partido Socialista de Chile
LeaderÁlvaro Elizalde
Secretary-GeneralAndrés Santander
Chief of SenatorsCarlos Montes
Chief of DeputiesDaniel Melo
Founded19 April 1933
HeadquartersParís 873, Barrio París-Londres, Santiago, Chile
Youth wingSocialist Youth of Chile
Membership (2017)37,600 (3rd)[1]
IdeologySocial democracy[2][3]
Democratic socialism[4][5]
Political positionCentre-left[3]
National affiliationNueva Mayoría
International affiliationProgressive Alliance,
Socialist International[6]
Regional affiliationForo de São Paulo,
Colours     Red
Chamber of Deputies
19 / 120
7 / 38
Regional boards
33 / 278
34 / 345
Communal Councils
269 / 2,224
Party flag
Flag of the Socialist Party of Chile


The Socialist Party of Chile was co-founded on 19 April 1933, by Colonel Marmaduque Grove, who had already led several governments, Oscar Schnake, Carlos Alberto Martínez, future President Salvador Allende, and other personalities. After the Chilean coup of 1973 it was proscribed (along with the other leftist parties constituting the Popular Unity coalition) and the party split into several groups which would not reunite until after the return to civilian rule in 1990.

Socialist thought in Chile goes back to the mid-19th century, when Francisco Bilbao and Santiago Arcos opened a debate on civil rights and social equality in Chile. These ideas took hold in the labour movement at the beginning of the 20th century and, along with them, the various communist, anarchist, socialist, and mutualist ideals of the time were diffused by writers and leaders such as Luis Emilio Recabarren. The impact of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia imparted new vigor to Chile's revolutionary movements, which in the 1920s were mostly identified with the global Communist movement; the Communist Party of Chile was formed.

The Great Depression of 1930 plunged the country's working and middle classes into a serious crisis that led them to sympathize with socialist ideas, which found expression in the establishment of the short-lived Socialist Republic of Chile in 1932. The idea of founding a political party to unite the different movements identified with socialism took shape in the foundation of the Socialist Party of Chile, on 19 April 1933. At a conference in Santiago, at 150 Serrano, 14 delegates from the Socialist Marxist Party led by Eduardo Rodriguez Mazer; 18 from the New Public Action, headed by the lawyer Eugenio Matte Stolen; 12 delegates of the Socialist Order, whose main exponent was the architect Arturo Bianchi Gundian; and 26 representatives of the Revolutionary Socialist Action of Óscar Schnake formulated the new party's founding document and its short-term action plan, and elected Óscar Schnake as its first executive Secretary General.

The Party's Statement of Principles was:

-The Socialist Party embodies Marxism, enriched by scientific and social progress.

-The Capitalist exploitation based on the doctrine of private property regarding land, industry, resource, and transportation, necessarily must be replaced by an economically socialist state in which said private property be transformed into collective.

-During the process of total transformation of the system of government, a representative revolutionary government of the manual and intellectual labourers' class is necessary. The new socialist state only can be born of the initiative and the revolutionary action of the proletariat masses.

-The socialist doctrine is of an international character and requires the support of all the workers of the world. The Socialist Party will support their revolutionary goals in economics and politics across Latin America in order to pursue a vision of a Confederacy of the Socialist Republics of the Continent, the first step toward the World Socialist Confederation.

The Party quickly obtained popular support. Its partisan structure exhibits some singularities, such as the creation of "brigades" that group their militants according to environment of activity; brigades that live together organically, and brigades of militant youths such as the Confederacy of the Socialist Youth, and the Confederacy of Socialist Women. In the later 1930s they included the "Left Communist" faction, formed by a split of the Communist Party of Chile, headed by Manuel Noble Plaza and comprising the journalist Oscar Waiss, the lawyer Tomás Chadwick and the first secretary of the PS, Ramón Sepúlveda Loyal, among others.

In 1934 the Socialists, along with the Radical-Socialist Party and the Democratic Party constituted the "Leftist Bloc". In the first parliamentary election (March 1937) they obtained 22 representatives (19 representatives and 3 senators), among them its Secretary general Oscar Schnake Vergara, elected senator of Tarapacá-Antofagasta, placed by the PS in a noticeable place inside the political giants of the epoch. For the 1938 presidential election, the PS participated in the formation of the Popular Front, withdrawing its presidential candidate, the colonel Marmaduque Grove, and supporting the Radical Party's candidate, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, who narrowly defeated the right-wing candidate following an attempted coup by the National Socialist Movement of Chile. In the government of Aguirre Cerda the socialists obtained the Ministries of Public Health, Forecast and Social Assistance, given to Salvador Allende, the Minister of Promotion, trusted to Oscar Schnake, and the Ministers of Lands and Colonization, handed out to Rolando Merino.

The participation of the Socialist Party in the government of Aguirre Cerda reached an end on 15 December 1940, due to internal conflicts among the Popular Front coalition, in particular with the Communist Party. In the parliamentary elections of March 1941 the PS advanced outside of the Popular Front and obtained 17,9% of the votes, 17 representatives and 2 senators. The PS integrated into the new leftist coalition following Cerda's death, now named Democratic Alliance, which supported the candidacy of the Radical Juan Antonio Ríos, who was triumphantly elected. The Socialists participated in his cabinet, alongside Radicals, members of the Democratic Party and of the Liberal Party and even of the Falange. Oscar Schnake occupied once again the post of Promotion and the socialist Pedro Populate Vera and Eduardo Escudero Forrastal assumed the positions of Lands and Colonization and Social Assistance, respectively.

The youth of the party assumed a very critical attitude toward these changes and mergers, which caused the expulsion of all the Central Committee of the FJS, among them Raúl Vásquez (its secretary general), Raúl Ampuero, Mario Palestro and Carlos Briones. In the IX Congress of the PS of the year 1943 Salvador Allende displaced Marmaduque Grove as Secretary General and withdrew his party from the government of Ríos. Grove did not accept this situation, and was expelled from the PS and the Authentic Socialist Party. These conflicts caused the PS to drop violently to only 7% of the votes in the parliamentary elections of March 1945, diminishing significantly its parliamentary strength.

After World War II

There was complete confusion in the Socialist Party for the presidential election of 1946. The PS decided to put up its own candidate; its secretary general Bernardo Ibáñez. However, many militants supported the radical candidate Gabriel González Videla, while the Authentic Socialist Party of Grove stopped supporting the liberal Fernando Alessandri.

After the failure of the candidacy of Ibáñez (who obtained barely a 2.5% of the votes), the purges continued. In the XI Ordinary Congress the current "revolution" of Raúl Ampuero was imposed and he assigned to academic Eugenio González the making of the Program of the Socialist Party which defined its north; the Democratic Republic of Workers.

The promulgation, in 1948, of the Law 8.987 "Defense of Democracy Law" that banned the communists, was again a factor of division among the socialists.[7] Bernardo Ibáñez, Oscar Schnake, Juan Bautista Rosseti and other anticommunist socialists supported it with enthusiasm; while the board of directors of the party directed by Raúl Ampuero and Eugenio González rejected it. The anticommunist group of Ibáñez was expelled from the PS and they constituted the Socialist Party of the Workers; nevertheless the Conservative of the electoral Roll assigned to the group of Ibáñez the name Socialist Party of Chile, forcing the group of Ampuero to adopt the name Socialist Popular Party.[8]

The Socialist Popular Party proclamation, in its XIV Congress, carried out in Chillán in May 1952, as its presidential standard bearer to Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, despite the refusal of the senators Salvador Allende and Tomás Chadwick. Allende abandoned the party and united the Socialist Party of Chile, which, as a group with the Communist Party (outlawed), raised the candidacy of Allende for the Front of the People. The triumph of Ibáñez permitted the popular socialists to have important departments such as that of Work (Clodomiro Almeyda) and Estate (Felipe Herrera).

After the parliamentary elections of 1953; where the Socialist Popular Party obtained 5 senators and 19 representatives, the popular socialists abandoned the government of Carlos Ibáñez del Campo and proclaimed the need to establish a Front of Workers, in conjunction with the Democratic Party of the People, the socialists of Chile and the outlawed communists.

Finally, on 1 March 1956, the two socialist parties (Socialist Party of Chile and Socialist Popular Party), the Party of the Workers (communist outlawed), Democratic Party of the People and the Democratic Party all signed the minutes of constitution of the Front of Popular Action (FRAP) with Salvador Allende Gossens as the president of the coalition, which participated successfully in the municipal elections of April 1956.

After the parliamentary elections of March 1957 the "Congress of Unity" was carried to power, formed from the Popular Socialist Party directed by Rául Ampuero and the Socialist Party of Chile of Salvador, directed by Allende Gossens. These chose the secretary general of the unified Socialist Party; Salomón Corbalán.

On 31 July 1958, the Law of Permanent Defense of Democracy was derogated by the National Congress, therefore the ban of the Communist Party was repealed. In the presidential elections of 1958, the standard bearer of the Front of Popular Action (FRAP), the socialist Salvador Allende, lost the presidential election narrowly to Jorge Alessandri. In spite of the loss, the unification of the socialist parties had a new leader, and Chile was one of the few countries of the world in which a Marxist had clear possibilities to win the presidency of the Republic through democratic elections.

The overwhelming triumph of Eduardo Frei Montalva over the candidate of the FRAP Salvador Allende Gossens in the presidential elections of September 1964 caused demoralization among the followers of the "Chilean way to socialism". The National Democratic Party (PADENA) abandoned the coalition of left; and the influence of the Cuban revolution and above all of the "guerrilla way of Ernesto Guevara" they were left to feel the heart of the Socialist Party. The discrepancies of the party were perceived clearly. In July from 1967 the senators Raúl Ampuero and Tomás Chadwick and the representatives Ramón Silva Ulloa, Eduardo Osorio Pardo and Oscar Naranjo Arias were expelled, and founded the Popular Socialist Union (USOPO).

In the XXII Congress, which took place in Chillán in November 1967, the political became more radical, under the influence of Carlos Altamirano Orrego and the leader of the Ranquil Rural Confederation, Rolando Calderón Aránguiz. The party now officially adhered to Marxism-Leninism, declared itself in favour of revolutionary, anticapitalist and anti-imperialist changes.[9]

The Popular Unity government

In 1969, skepticism about the "Chilean way to socialism" prevailed in the Central Committee of the Socialist Party. Salvador Allende Gossens was proclaimed as the party's presidential candidate, with 13 votes in favor and 14 abstentions, among them that of its secretary general, Aniceto Rodriguez, of Carlos Altamirano Orrego, and of Clodomiro Almeyda Medina. Nevertheless, the candidacy of Allende galvanized the forces of the left, who formed, in October 1969, the Popular Unity coalition including the Socialist Party, Communist Party, Radical Party, Popular Unitary Action Movement (which had split from the Christian Democrat Party), and Independent Popular Action, consisting of former supporters of Carlos Ibáñez. Popular Unity triumphed in the presidential election of September 1970.

On 24 October 1970 Salvador Allende Gossens was officially proclaimed President of the Republic of Chile. There was world expectation; he agreed to manage the coalition and to be a Marxist president with the explicit commitment to build socialism, while respecting the democratic and institutional mechanisms.

The position of the PS on joining the government of the UP became more radical when senator Carlos Altamirano Orrego took over as party leader, having been elected at the XXIII Congress in La Serena in January 1971. He proclaimed that the party should become "the Chilean vanguard in the march toward socialism".

In the municipal elections of April 1971, the leftist coalition achieved an absolute majority in the election of local councillors, which caused growing polarization due to the alliance of the Christian Democrats with the sectors of the right in the country. The withdrawal of the Party of Radical Left from the government, with its 6 representatives and 5 senators, meant that the government of Allende was left with less than one third of both houses of the parliament.

1973 election poster for PS candidate Fidelma Allende. Slogan reads 'Against the Black Market - Forward with the Socialists'.

In the parliamentary elections of March 1973, the Popular Unity ruler coalition managed to block a move by the opposing Democratic Confederation to impeach Allende. This initiative did not attain the required two-thirds majority.

The Socialist Party under Pinochet

The serious economic problems facing the government only deepened the country's political divisions. The Socialist Party, which had posted its highest electoral showing in history, was opposed, along with MAPU, to any dialogue with the right-wing opposition. On 11 September 1973, Augusto Pinochet led the military coup against Allende's government, putting an end to the Presidential Republic Era begun in 1924. President Salvador Allende refused to relinquish power to the Armed Forces, and ultimately committed suicide in his office at the Palace of La Moneda, during an intensive air bombardment of the historic edifice.[10]

The military coup d'état was devastating to the organization of the Chilean Socialist Party. Within a few weeks of the coup, four members of their Central Committee and seven regional secretaries of the Partido Social had been murdered. A further twelve members of the Central Committee were imprisoned, while the remaining members took refuge in various foreign embassies. The Socialist Party's Secretary General, Carlos Altamirano, managed to escape from Chile, appearing in Havana on 1 January 1974, during the anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

Lack of experience working 'underground' during the ban led to the breakup of the Party's Secret Directorate. The secret services of the military state managed to infiltrate the organization and, one by one, arrested its principal leaders. The bodies of Exequiel Ponce Vicencio, Carlos Lorca Tobar, Ricardo Lagos Salinas and Víctor Zerega Ponce were never found.

Other victims of repression were the former home Secretary, José Tohá González and the former Minister of National Defense, Orlando Letelier del Solar. Having reviewed the consequences of the defeat of the Unidad Popular, and observed the experiences of refugees of "true socialism" in Eastern Europe, and seeing the lack of a cohesive strategy to continue against Pinochet's regime, there was deep dissent within its exterior organization, whose central management was in the German Democratic Republic.

In April 1979, the Tercer Pleno Exterior, the majority sector of the party, named Clodomiro Almeyda as the new Secretary General, Galo Gómez as the Assistant Secretary and expelled Carlos Altamirano, Jorge Arrate, Jaime Suaréz, Luis Meneses and Erich Schnake from the party, charging them with being "remnants of a past which is in the process of being overcome who testify to the survival of a nucleus which is irreducible and resistant to the superior qualitative development of a true revolutionary vanguard" .

Altamirano, not accepting this, declared a re-organization of the party and called a Conference. The XXIV Conference took place in France in 1980 and Altamirano declared there that, "Only a very deep and rigorous renewal of definitions and proposals for action, language, style and methods of "doing politics" will make our revolutionary action effective (...) It does not force us to "relaunch" the Partido Social (Socialist Party) of Chile. Yes, it means we must "renew it", understand it as our most precious instrument of change, as an option for power, as an alternative to transformation."

In the 1980s socialist factions reemerged as active opponents to the Pinochet government. A sector, from among the so-called "renewed socialist", founded the Convergencia Socialista (the Socialist Convergence), which contributed to the Movimiento de Acción Popular Unitaria - MAPU (Unified Movement of Popular Action), the peasant worker MAPU, and the Christian Leftists. They aimed, in conjunction with the Christian Democracy, to end dictatorship through "non-disruptive methods". The other sector (majority from among the socialist militants in the interior of the country) formed the "popular rebellion" alliance - an agreement with the Communist Party, the Leftist Revolutionary Movement and the Radical Party of Anselmo Sule. The objectives were the same. After the First National Protest against the Pinochet regime, which occurred on 11 May 1983, the efforts of the different factions of the Socialist Party intensified.

The XXIV ("renewed") Socialist Party Congress, directed by Ricardo Ñúnez, decided to form the Democratic Alliance. This was a coalition of Christian Democrats, Silva Cimma radicals, and sectors from the republican and democratic right wing. They convened the Fourth National Protest Day (11 August 1983) and proposed, in September 1983, the formation of the Socialist Bloc, the first attempt at a unification of Chilean socialism under the slogan "Democracy Now!".

In the meantime, the "Almeyda" Partido Social, in conjunction with the Communist Party, Aníbal Palm radicals and the Leftist Revolutionary Movement, founded the "Movimiento Democrático Popular" (MDP) (Popular Democratic Movement) on 6 September 1983, which caused the Fifth Day of National Protest.

The signing of the National Accord in late August 1985, between the Democratic Alliance and sectors of the right wing aligned to the military regime, deepened division among the Chilean left wing. The most radical politico-military arm opposed the method of gradual transition towards democracy. Their primary exponent was the Frente Patriótico Manuel Rodríguez (FPMR) (the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front).

The MAPU-OC, whose main figures were Jaime Gazmuri, Jorge Molina and Jaime Estévez, was added to the "renewed" Partido Social, now directed by Carlos Briones.

In September 1986, the politico-military method of "mass violent insurrectionist uprisings" was finally aborted after the failure of "Operation 20th century", as the assassination attempt on Pinochet by the FPMR was called. Some of the top leaders from among the revolutionary sectors of the "Almeyda" Partido Social, along with conciliators and opportunists, on realizing that the idea of overthrowing the dictatorship was not a viable strategy, began to take control of the party and distance themselves from the Communist Party. As a result, the socialist left wing realized that a "negotiated solution" to the conflict could not be found outside of the provisions of the 1980 Constitution.

In March 1987, Clodomiro Almeyda entered Chile secretly and presented himself before the court to rectify his situation. He was deported to Chile Chico, condemned and deprived of his civic rights.[11]

In April 1987, Ricardo Núñez, new leader of the "renewed" Partido Social, announced, at the 54th Anniversary of the party, "We are not going to remove Pinochet from the political scene using weapons. We shall defeat him with the ballot boxes (..) We are convinced that the town is going to stop Pinochet with the ballot boxes. We are going to build that army of seven million citizens to embrace different alternatives to the Chilean political landscape".

In December 1987 the "renewed" Partido Social founded the Partido por la Democracia (PPD) (Party for Democracy), an "instrumental" party serving as a tool to enable legally democratic forces to participate in the 1988 Plebiscite (Referendum) and in subsequent elections. Ricardo Lagos was appointed as the president. Some radicals, dissident communists, and even democratic liberals joined this party.

In February 1988 the Concertación de Partidos por el No (Coalition of Parties for the 'No') was formed. 17 political parties and movements in Chile joined this coalition. Among them were the members of the Alianza Democrática (the Democratic Alliance), the Almeyda Partido Social, and the Christian Left. The political direction of the campaign fell on the Christian Democratic leader, Patricio Aylwin, and Ricardo Lagos from the PPD. They achieved successful results in the 5 October 1988, Plebiscite, where close to 56% of the valid votes cast rejected the idea that Pinochet would continue as the President of the Republic.[12]

After the October 1988 Plebiscite, the Concertación called for constitutional reform to remove the "authoritarian clauses" of the 1980 Constitution. This proposal by the democratic opposition was partly accepted by the authoritarian government via the 30 July 1989, Plebiscite, where 54 reforms to the existing Constitution were approved. Among these reforms were the revocation of the controversial article 8, which served as the basis for the exclusion of the socialist leader, Clodomiro Almeyda, from political involvement.

In November 1988 the Almeyda Partido Social, the Christian Left and the Communist Party, among other left wing organizations, formed an "instrumental" party called Partido Amplio de Izquierda Socialista (PAIS) (the Broad Left Socialist Party), with Luis Maira as the president and Ricardo Solari as the secretary general.[13]

The Concertación

In May 1989, the "renewed" PS held internal elections by secret ballot by its nationwide membership, for the first time in the history of Chilean socialism. The list composed of Jorge Arrate and Luis Alvarado won, against the competing lists of Erich Schnake and Akím Soto, and of Heraldo Muñoz (supported by Ricardo Lagos' faction within the party).

The winning list of Jorge Arrate represented the tendency of the "socialist renewal", upholding a permanent alliance with the Christian Democrats within the Concertación, and strongly defending the unity of the party, in contrast to other internal tendencies. After the elections the XXV Congress was convoked at Costa Azul, which took the momentous decision for Chilean socialism to abandon its traditional isolationism and join the Socialist International.

In June 1989, the Concertación appointed the Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin as its standard bearer for the presidential elections. Aylwin had beaten Gabriel Valdés and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle in the party's internal elections, and a few weeks before the election he received the support of the radicals of Silva Cimma and even of the former Almeyda supporters (PS-Almeyda). Finally the PS-Arrate (or "renewal" PS) dropped its candidate Ricardo Lagos and added itself to the candidacy of Aylwin, who as president of the Christian Democratic Party was one of the main opponents of the Popular Unity government.

Aylwin won easily in the presidential elections of 1989, gaining more than the 55% of the valid votes.[14] "Renewal Socialism" was strengthened as 16 representatives of the PPD were elected, 13 of whom were members of the PS-Arrate. In the matter of senators, three of their members were chosen (Ricardo Núñez Muñoz, Jaime Gazmuri and Hernán Vodanovic), but there was regret over the rout of Ricardo Lagos in his candidacy of Santiago West.

PS-Almeyda obtained seven representatives, two of them standing for the PAIS, and the other five elected as independents within the Concertación list. Rolando Calderon Aránguiz was elected as senator in Magallanes.

The fall of the wall of Berlin, on 9 November 1989, deeply affected the Chilean left, especially in its more orthodox sector. This accelerated the process of unification within the party, which was finalized on 27 December 1989. The Movimiento de Acción Popular Unitaria, led by Oscar Guillermo Garretón, took this chance to join the united PS.

Between 22 and 25 November 1990 the "Salvador Allende Unity Congress" was held, with past leaders such as Raúl Ampuero and Aniceto Rodriguez and the Christian Left headed by its president Luis Maira and its two representatives (Sergio Aguiló and Jaime Naranjo) joining the party. In that Congress Jorge Arrate was chosen as president, Ricardo Núñez Muñoz as vice president and Manuel Almeyda Medina as secretary general.

Hortensia Bussi, the widow of Allende, sent a message to the Congress from Mexico:

I salute with deep feeling the reunification of the Socialist Party of Chile. You all know how I have waited for this moment, certain that Allende's comrades would overcome their differences and rebuild the powerful democratic left that Chile needs.

The first challenges for the unified socialists were the exercise of power and the "double membership" status of the "renewal socialists" as members of both the PS and the PPD. Finally, the Socialist Party decided to have itself recorded under its own name and symbols in the electoral rolls, and gave a two-year time limit to its members to opt for the PS or the PPD. A significant number of "renewal socialists" did not return to the PS; among them Erich Schnake, Sergio Bitar, Guido Girardi, Jorge Molina, Vicente Sotta, Víctor Barrueto and Octavio Jara.

In power, the socialists Enrique Correa (as the minister General Secretary of Government), Carlos Ominami (Economy), Germán Correa (Transportation), Ricardo Lagos and Jorge Arrate (Education) and Luis Alvarado (National Resources) entered the cabinets of President Aylwin, while in the House of Representatives, the socialists José Antonio Viera-Gallo and Jaime Estevéz exercised its presidency.

In the elections of 1992, Germán Strap was chosen as president of the PS, supported by the "renewal" group around Ricardo Núñez Muñoz and the "third way" faction within the Almeyda tendency. They prevailed against Camilo Escalona, Clodomiro Almeyda and Jaime Estevez, representing an alliance between the traditional supporters of Clodomiro Almeyda and one faction of Jorge Arrate's "renewal" tendency.

The Concertación under Christian Democrat leadership (1990-2000)

The left (PS-PPD) backed Ricardo Lagos as the Concertación candidate for the 1993 presidential elections, but he was defeated by the Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, gaining only 36.6% of the vote in the primary on 23 May. After Frei became president, the Socialists took up senior posts in his first cabinet: Interior (Germán Correa), Planining (Luis Maira), Labor (Jorge Arrate), and Public Works (Ricardo Lagos).[15]

In the parliamentary elections of December 1997, the PS did badly: its deputies decreased from 16 to 11, and its senators from 5 to 4. Its senatorial candidate Camilo Escalona obtained a mere 16% of the vote in Santiago West.

The detention of Pinochet in London in October 1998 caused tensions within the PS. The Socialist foreign affairs ministers José Miguel Insulza and Juan Gabriel Valdés pressed to have the ex-dictator returned to Chile, while a group of leading Socialists including Isabel Allende Bussi, Juan Pablo Letelier, Fanny Pollarolo and Juan Bustos Ramírez travelled to London to support judge Baltasar Garzón's proceedings for extradition to Spain.

Leading up to the 1999 presidential elections, the PS, PPD and Radical Social-Democratic Party again supported Lagos as candidate. This time Lagos won the primary on 30 May, with 70.2% of votes.

The Concertación under Socialist governments (2000-2010)

Expertos, políticos y académicos debatieron sobre la viabilidad de las propuestas de la Comisión Meller
Camilo Escalona, three times president of the Socialist Party: 1994-1998, 2000-2003, and 2006-2010.

Lagos was elected president in 1999, defeating the rightwing candidate Joaquín Lavín with 51.3% of the vote,[16] thus becoming the first president in thirty years to have Socialist support - even though Lagos himself was a PD member. Socialist ministers in his first cabinet were José Miguel Insulza (Interior), Ricardo Solari (Labor), Carlos Cruz (Public Works) and Michelle Bachelet (Health).

The 2001 parliamentary elections were a setback for the Socialists and for the Concertación as a whole. The PS increased its representation by only one deputy and one senator, while the Concertación vote sank below 50% for the first time in its existence.

In September 2003, marking 30 years since the coup against Allende, the Socialist Party issued a document accepting responsibility for the events:

It is beyond all doubt that President Allende maintained an unchanging and impeccable attitude (...) Nevertheless, the socialists have made it clear, and we repeat it now, that we did not do enough to defend the democratic regime. We aimed to carry through a program of change without the necessary majorities in parliament and in society, we remained intransigent in the matter, and we did not give President Allende the support of his party that he needed to lead the government along the pathways that had been defined.

Michelle Bachelet Banda2.jpeg
Michelle Bachelet with the presidential flag.

The outcome of the 2005 parliamentary elections was favorable both for the Socialists and for the Concertación: the PS increased its deputies from 12 to 15, and its senators from 5 to 8, giving it the largest block it had ever had in the Senate. Moreover, Michelle Bachelet was elected as president of Chile. For its part, the Concertación regained its electoral hegemony, with an absolute majority in both chambers of parliament.

Bachelet took over as president on 11 March 2006. She was the first woman president in the country's history,[17] and the fourth successive president from the Concertación. Her initially high popularity dropped considerably as a result of the 2006 student mobilization known as the "Penguin Revolution", the Transantiago crisis, and various conflicts within the governing coalition. Described as a "social contract", her government reformed pensions and the social security system, aiming to help thousands of Chileans to improve their quality of life.[18] Her government had to confront the world economic crisis of 2008, but her popularity figures recovered as Chileans formed a positive opinion of her leadership, and her final approval rating of 84% had never before been attained by any Chilean head of state on leaving their post.[19]

Within the Party, divisions widened, with dissident factions opposing the policy of Camilo Escalona. Prominent figures including Jorge Arrate, senator Alejandro Navarro and deputy Marco Enriquez-Ominami quit the party in 2008 and 2009.

In the 2009 parliamentary elections, the PS led by Escalona suffered a serious defeat: it lost its dominance of the senate, and its deputies reduced in number form 15 to 11. Meanwhile, in new presidential elections, the Concertación candidate Eduardo Frei lost to the rightwinger Sebastián Piñera, putting an end to twenty years of Concertación rule.[20]

The Nueva Mayoría

Michelle Bachelet won the second round of the Chilean presidential election, 2014 with 62% of the votes. She was the candidate of Nueva Mayoría ("New Majority"), a broadened version of the Concertación now including the Communist Party and others.[21]

Presidents elected under Socialist Party of Chile

Election results

Due to its membership in the Concert of Parties for Democracy, the party has endorsed the candidates of other parties on several occasions. Presidential elections in Chile are held using a two-round system, the results of which are displayed below.

Presidential elections

Elections for the President of Chile
Date Candidate Party Round I Round II Result
% %
1932 Marmaduke Grove Vallejo NAP 17.7 defeat
1938 Pedro Aguirre Cerda PR 50.5 victory
1942 Juan Antonio Ríos PR 56.0 victory
1946 Bernardo Ibáñez PS 2.5 defeat
1952 Salvador Allende PS 5.4 defeat
1958 Salvador Allende PS 28.8 defeat
1964 Salvador Allende PS 38.9 defeat
1970 Salvador Allende PS 36.6 victory
Results from 1989 represent Concertación totals
1989 Patricio Aylwin PDC 55.2 victory
1993 Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle PDC 58.0 victory
1999 Ricardo Lagos PPD 48.0 51.3 victory
2005 Michelle Bachelet PS 46.0 53.5 victory
2009 Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle PDC 29.6 48.4 defeat
2013 Michelle Bachelet PS 46.7 62.2 victory
2017 Alejandro Guillier Ind. 22.7 45.4 defeat
Chamber of Deputies
Election Leader Votes % Seats +/- Coalition President
1937 Óscar Schanke 46,050 11.17%
19 / 146 (13%)
N/A Popular Front Arturo Alessandri (PL)
1941 Marmaduke Grove 80,377 11.85%
17 / 147 (12%)
-2 Pedro Aguirre Cerda (PR)
1945 Bernardo Ibáñez 32,314 7.13%
6 / 147 (4%)
-11 Democratic Alliance Juan Antonio Ríos (PR)
1949 Eugenio González 15,676 3.43%
5 / 147 (3%)
-1 Gabriel González Videla (PR)
1953 Raúl Ampuero 41,679 5.56%
9 / 147 (6%)
+4 FRENAP Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (Ind.)
1957 Salomón Corbalán 38,783 10.67%
7 / 147 (5%)
-2 FRAP Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (Ind.)
1961 Raúl Ampuero 149,122 11.13%
12 / 147 (8%)
+5 Jorge Alessandri (Ind.)
1965 Raúl Ampuero 241,593 10.58%
15 / 147 (10%)
+3 Eduardo Frei Montalva (PDC)
1969 Aniceto Rodríguez 294,448 12.76%
15 / 150 (10%)
0 Eduardo Frei Montalva (PDC)
1973 Carlos Altamirano 678,796 18.70%
28 / 150 (19%)
+13 Popular Unity Salvador Allende (PS)
Congress Suspended (1973-1989)
1993 Germán Correa 803,719 11.93%
15 / 120 (13%)
N/A Concertación Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (PDC)
1997 Camilo Escalona 640,397 11.05%
11 / 120 (9%)
-4 Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (PDC)
2001 Camilo Escalona 614,434 10.00%
10 / 120 (8%)
-1 Ricardo Lagos (PPD)
2005 Ricardo Núñez 663,561 10.05%
15 / 120 (13%)
+5 Michelle Bachelet (PS)
2009 Camilo Escalona 647,533 10.02%
11 / 120 (9%)
-4 Sebastián Piñera (RN)
2013 Osvaldo Andrade 690,620 11.13%
17 / 120 (14%)
+6 New Majority Michelle Bachelet (PS)
2017 Álvaro Elizalde 585,128 9.76%
19 / 155 (12%)
+2 The Force of the Majority Sebastián Piñera (Ind.)

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Jörn Sommer (1997). Die Herausforderung: zum Weltmarktdiskurs der chilenischen Gewerkschaften jenseits ihrer Akteurfähigkeit. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 94. ISBN 978-3-8258-3314-5.
  3. ^ a b Kautsky, John (2002), Social Democracy and the Aristocracy, Transaction, p. 44
  4. ^ Declaration of Principles of the Socialist Party (PDF) (in Spanish), 2001
  5. ^ Walker, Ignacio (1990), Socialismo y Democracía (PDF) (in Spanish), Cieplan, p. 230
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2015-04-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Vergara, Angela (2010). Copper Workers, International Business, and Domestic Politics in Cold War Chile. Penn State Press. p. 72. ISBN 9780271047836. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  8. ^ Faúndez, Julio (1988). Marxism and Democracy in Chile: From 1932 to the Fall of Allende. Yale University Press. p. 81. ISBN 9780300040241. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  9. ^ (in French) Pierre Ostiguy, La transformation de système des partis politiques chiliens, Politique et société, vol.24, Éditeur : Société québécoise de science politique, 2005. p 132
  10. ^ Associated Press (20 July 2011). "Chilean president Salvador Allende committed suicide, autopsy confirms". The guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  11. ^ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (ed.) (1991). Inter-American Yearbook on Human Rights, 1988. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 392. ISBN 9780792312642. Retrieved 22 September 2015.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Guillermo Perry, Danny M. Leipziger (eds.) (1999). Chile: Recent Policy Lessons and Emerging Challenges. World Bank Publications. p. 396. ISBN 9780821345009. Retrieved 22 September 2015.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Roberts, Kenneth M. (1998). Deepening Democracy?: The Modern Left and Social Movements in Chile and Peru. Stanford University Press. p. 288. ISBN 9780804731942. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  14. ^ Meyer, Peter J. (2010). Chile: Political and Economic Conditions and U. S. Relations. DIANE Publishing. p. 4. ISBN 9781437931389. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  15. ^ Siavelis, Peter M. (2010). President and Congress in Postauthoritarian Chile: Institutional Constraints to Democratic Consolidation. Penn State Press. p. 66. ISBN 9780271042459. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  16. ^ Heenan, Patrick; Lamonttagne, Monique. The South America Handbook. 2014: Routledge. pp. 103–104. ISBN 9781135973148. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  17. ^ Jalalzai, Farida (2015). Women Presidents of Latin America: Beyond Family Ties?. Routledge. p. 48. ISBN 9781317668350. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  18. ^ Katja Hujo (ed.) (2014). Reforming Pensions in Developing and Transition Countries: Chapter 10. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137396129. Retrieved 22 September 2015.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Buckman, Robert T. (2014). Latin America 2014. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 123. ISBN 9781475812282. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  20. ^ IBP, Inc. (2015). Chile Investment, Trade Laws and Regulations Handbook Volume 1 Strategic Information and Basic Laws. p. 32. ISBN 9781433075629. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  21. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Britannica Book of the Year 2014. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. p. 405. ISBN 9781625131713. Retrieved 22 September 2015.

External links

Arnoldo Camu

Arnoldo Camu Veloso (?—September 24, 1973) was a Chilean lawyer and socialist political activist. Camu was killed in the street, allegedly by Chilean government agents shortly following the 1973 Chilean coup d'état. Camu was a member of the Political Bureau of the Socialist Party of Chile.Responsibility for a 1989 bombing which damaged windows and injured a security guard at the US Embassy in Chile was claimed by a group calling itself the "Arnoldo Camu Command".

Camilo Escalona

Camilo Escalona Medina is a Chilean politician. He was the President of the Senate. He served as chairman of the Socialist Party of Chile from May 2006 until January 2010.

Carlos Altamirano

Carlos Altamirano Orrego (born December 18, 1922) is a lawyer and Chilean socialist politician. He was the general secretary of the Chilean Socialist Party (PS) between 1971 and 1979. Before that, he was deputy from 1961 to 1965 and senator from 1965 to 1973. He escaped after Pinochet's coup d'état on September 11, 1973, and lived as a refugee in Cuba. As a young man he won medals in the high jump event at the 1946 and 1947 South American Championships in Athletics.

Clodomiro Almeyda

Clodomiro Almeyda Medina (February 11, 1923 – August 25, 1997) was a Chilean politician. A leading member of the Socialist Party, served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile from 1970 to 1973 during the Presidency of Salvador Allende.

Isabel Allende (politician)

Isabel Allende Bussi (; born 18 January 1945) is a Chilean Socialist Party politician and the daughter of former president of Chile Salvador Allende, and his wife, Hortensia Bussi. From 1994 to 2010 she was a deputy and in March 2010 she became a Senator for the Atacama Region. On 28 February 2014, Allende was selected as president of the Senate, as of 11 March 2014, making her the first woman president of the body in Chilean history.

Jorge Arrate

Jorge Félix Arrate Mac Niven (Santiago, May 1, 1941) is a Chilean lawyer, economist, writer and politician . He was Ministry of State for the presidents Salvador Allende, Patricio Aylwin and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle.

In 2009 he was appointed as candidate for president of Chile in representation of the political alliance Juntos Podemos Más and other leftist political movements, obtaining 6.21% of the total votes in the elections of that year.

José Antonio Viera-Gallo

José Antonio Viera-Gallo Quesney (born 2 December 1943) is a Chilean politician.

Before turning 30, Viera-Gallo was a Member of Congress during the left-wing elected government of president Salvador Allende, representing the Socialist Party of Chile. Following the 1973 coup by General Augusto Pinochet, he was among those persecuted by the new regime. Like other left-wing ousted politicians, he sought refuge in a foreign diplomatic mission, specifically the Apostolic Nunciature, where he lived for over six months.

With the help of then Apostolic Nuncio Angelo Sodano (who would later rise to the rank of cardinal in the Catholic hierarchy), Viera-Gallo was able to obtain safe passage out of Chile, and moved to exile in Rome, Italy. Together with other politicians including Bernardo Leighton, and with the support of leading Italian socialists including Bettino Craxi and Rino Formica, he led the Socialist Party of Chile from exile in Italy, while the Communist Party of Chile was led by Colodomiro Almeida and others from Moscow in the then Soviet Union.

As part of his advocacy efforts to fight the regime of Augusto Pinochet, Viera-Gallo founded the magazine ChileAmérica, which would later become incorporated into the Centre for Social Studies (CESOC). In 1985 he was allowed to return to Chile. During the government of president Patricio Aylwin, he was President of the Chamber of Deputies from 11 March 1990 to 21 July 1993.

Viera-Gallo later covered various other appointments, including lead senator of his party. From 2007 to 2010, he was Minister Secretary General of the Presidency, in the government of Michelle Bachelet. In 2010 prior to becoming a member of the Constitutional Tribunal, he quit the Socialist Party. He is married to Maria Teresa Chadwick, and has three daughters: Maria José, Titi, and Manuela.

José Miguel Insulza

José Miguel Insulza Salinas (born June 2, 1943) is a Chilean politician who served as Secretary General of the Organization of American States from 2005 to 2015. He previously served as Chile's Foreign Minister from 1994 to 1999, and as Interior Minister from 2000 to 2005.

Juan Acevedo Pavez

Juan Acevedo Pavez (November 8, 1914 – August 27, 2010) was a Chilean politician, who held office as regidor and mayor of the commune of San Bernardo, and was a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, representing the Eighth Departmental Group of Melipilla, San Antonio, San Bernardo, and Maipo.

Laura Allende

Laura Allende Gossens (September 3, 1911 – May 23, 1981) was a Chilean politician, a member of the lower chamber of parliament and sister of former president of Chile Salvador Allende.

Orlando Letelier

Marcos Orlando Letelier del Solar (13 April 1932 – 21 September 1976) was a Chilean economist, politician and diplomat during the presidency of Salvador Allende. A refugee from the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, Letelier accepted several academic positions in Washington, D.C. following his exit from Chile. In 1976, agents of Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), the Pinochet regime's secret police, assassinated Letelier in Washington via the use of a car bomb. These agents had been working in collaboration with members of the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, a U.S.-sponsored, anti-Fidel Castro, militant group.

Osvaldo Andrade

Osvaldo Andrade Lara (born 2 June 1953 in Santiago) is a Chilean Socialist politician. After studying law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Andrade joined the Socialist Party in 1968. He served as director of the Young Socialists. Following the Chilean coup of 1973, he was detained at the Estadio Nacional and at Villa Grimaldi. He was Minister of Labor and Social Security in the government of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet from 2006-2008. On 22 March 2016 he became President of the Chamber of Deputies. He succeeded Marco Antonio Núñez. He was succeeded as President on 22 March 2017 by Fidel Espinoza.Andrade was a 6-foot tall (1.83m) guard for the Chilean national basketball team in the 1970s.

Popular Socialist Party (Chile)

The Popular Socialist Party (Spanish: Partido Socialista Popular, or PSP) was a Chilean centre-left political party that existed between 1948 and 1957. It was the result of the division of the Socialist Party of Chile in 1948 by voting and promulgation of Law No. 8,987 of Defense of Democracy in which the PS was divided in its vote and support among pro-communist and anti-communist.

The anti-communist faction (which were in Bernardo Ibáñez, Oscar Schnake and Juan Bautista Rossetti) supported the law, and the pro-communist (headed by Eugenio González and Raúl Ampuero) refused. The anticomunist group is expelled but makes the Conservative Electoral Registration assign them the name of the Socialist Party of Chile. So the faction led by Ampuero adopted the name Popular Socialist Party.

The party supported the presidential candidacy of Carlos Ibáñez del Campo in 1952. The argument used to support Ibáñez was that it was a popular candidate and needed to drag him from within a truly progressive orientation. When the new government in November 1952, the PSP got the Ministry of Labour with Clodomiro Almeyda. From there, he supported the founding of the Central Workers Union in February 1953. In April 1953, Ibanez reshuffled his cabinet PSP occupying the Ministry of Finance (Felipe Herrera), Labour (Enrique Monti Forno) and Mining (Almeyda). PSP participation in government ends in October 1953.

In 1956, along with other leftist parties, formed the FRAP, which allowed for a rapprochement with the PS. Which led to the 1957 Unity Conference, which reunites the two major factions of Chilean socialism in the Socialist Party of Chile.

Ricardo Lagos

Ricardo Froilán Lagos Escobar (Spanish pronunciation: [riˈkaɾðo fɾoiˈlanˈlaɣos eskoˈβaɾ]; born 2 March 1938) is a Chilean lawyer, economist and social democrat politician who served as President of Chile from 2000 to 2006. He won the 1999-2000 presidential election by a narrow margin in a runoff over Independent Democrat Union (UDI) candidate Joaquín Lavín. Lagos was the third president from the center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy to have ruled Chile since 1990. He was succeeded on March 11, 2006 by Socialist Michelle Bachelet, from the same coalition. Since May 2007 he has served as a Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.He teaches political and economic development at Brown University in the United States.

Sonia Tschorne

Sonia Tschorne Berestesky (born 26 April 1954 in Santiago) is an architect and Chilean politician.

She studied architecture at the University of Chile, graduating in 1982. Later, she received a master's degree at the Catholic University of Chile in urban planning.

She has been a militant for the Socialist Party for the last 16 years, working with the governments of the concertación since 1990. She became the Ministry of Public Works' National Director of Architecture and Deputy Secretary of Urban Development during the governments of Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle and Ricardo Lagos.

As an architect, one of her last and most important works was the Master Building Plan of Central Santiago.

In 2004, she was designated Minister of Housing, Urban Development, National Goods, succeeding Jaime Ravinet.

In 2008, she was serving as Chile's Undersecretary of Public Works.

Teresa Núñez

Teresa Mercedes del Carmen Núñez Cornejo (born 10 September 1965) is a Chilean public administrator and politician. Núñez was the Governor of Cardenal Caro Province from 2014 to 2018.

Víctor Olea Alegría

Víctor Olea Alegría (born 17 June 1950) was a member (militante) of Chile’s Partido Socialista.

Olea lived in Santiago, Chile. He was detained by “security agents” on 11 September 1974, and became one of the "detenidos desaparecidos". Manuel Contreras was convicted in 2002 for his abduction.

Washington Saldías Fuentealba

Washington Saldías Fuentealba (6 September 1927—31 October 1989) was the 29th Mayor of the commune of Pichilemu, office which he held between May 1971 and September 1973: his term was interrupted by the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, which put General Augusto Pinochet in the power of the country, and who later appointed Carlos Echazarreta Iñiguez as the successor of Saldías. Saldías was also regidor of the commune of Pichilemu between 1963 and 1971, and a founding member of the Club Aéreo de Pichilemu (Aerial Club of Pichilemu).

Workers' Socialist Party (Chile)

The Workers' Socialist Party (Spanish: Partido Socialista de Trabajadores, or PST) was a leftist political party in Chile that existed between 1940 and 1944.

The party was founded by a faction of expelled of the Socialist Party of Chile. They were known as nonconformists, as they did not want to continue supporting the government of Pedro Aguirre Cerda and the Popular Front. In spite of this, they were integrated to the Democratic Alliance of Chile.

Among its members were César Godoy Urrutia, Carlos Muller, Emilio Zapata Díaz, Carlos Rosales, Natalio Berman and Jorge Dowling. Also included was the secretary general of the Socialist Youth Federation, Orlando Millas.

On June 18, 1944, the party was dissolved when most of its militants joined the Communist Party of Chile. A minority decided to return to the Socialist Party.

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