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Evelyn Rose Matthei Fornet (born November 11, 1953) is a Chilean politician who served as Minister of Labor and Social Security under Chilean President Sebastián Piñera until July 2013. She was the Independent Democrat Union Party's nominee for President of Chile in the 2013 elections.[1] Today she is the mayor of Providencia, her term being 2016-2020.

Evelyn Matthei
Evelyn Matthei foto campaña.jpg
Secretary of Labor and Social Security
In office
16 January 2011 – 22 July 2013
PresidentSebastián Piñera
Preceded byCamila Merino
Succeeded byJuan Carlos Jobet
Senator for Coquimbo
In office
11 March 1998 – 16 January 2011
Preceded byAlberto Cooper Valencia
Succeeded byGonzalo Uriarte Herrera
Personal details
Evelyn Rose Matthei Fornet

(1953-11-11) 11 November 1953 (age 65)
Santiago, Chile
Political partyIndependent Democratic Union (1999–present)
Independent politician (1993–1999)
National Renewal (Before 1993)
Other political
Chile Vamos (2015–present)
Alliance (Before 2015)
Spouse(s)Jorge Desormeaux Jiménez
Alma materPontifical Catholic University of Chile

Matthei began her career as a lecturer at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, before working in management in the private sector.[2] Following Chile's return to democracy in 1989, she successfully ran for Deputy of the 23rd Electoral District the year after. Matthei remained in Congress, serving another term as Deputy and being elected Senator twice before she was appointed to the Cabinet in 2011.[3]

Besides her political career, Matthei is also an accomplished pianist.[4]

Family and educationEdit

Matthei was born in Santiago de Chile, the second child of Elda Fornet Fernández and Fernando Matthei Aubel, a military officer. Her father was Minister of Health during Augusto Pinochet’s government; later becoming Commander-in-chief of the Air Force, and in this capacity, a member of the Military Junta until Chile’s return to democracy.[2]

As a child, Matthei's family were friends with Michelle Bachelet and her family. Bachelet later became president of Chile and in 2013 Matthei challenged her for the presidency.[5]

During her secondary education, Matthei developed a passion for music and piano, and upon graduation expressed interest in becoming a concert pianist. It was impossible for her family to pay for a tutor on her father’s meager salary as an Air Force Captain, but Matthei was able to obtain scholarships for her studies.[4] Following graduation, she took the admissions exams for university; but at the time her father was appointed military attaché to the Chilean Embassy in London, and she decided to pursue her piano career in Britain. Three years later, she realized she would not become a concert pianist and decided to return to Chile.

In 1974 Matthei started studying at the Economics Institute of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, from which she received a licentiate in Economics after four years. She pursued a degree in Economics, passed the final oral exam, and was even awarded a prize as best student of her promotion, but she claims that her thesis was stolen and so did not graduate.[2][6]

While studying, Matthei worked as an assistant professor[citation needed] and research assistant. She collaborated with former President Sebastián Piñera on a Latin American Economic Commission paper on poverty in the region; as well as a helping develop a textbook on Monetary Theory with Professor Hernando Cortés for the Economics Institute of her University.[3]

Early careerEdit

Matthei graduated[citation needed] in 1979 and became a professor of International Economics at the Economics Institute of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. After working a year as a researcher in a private consultancy, Forestal S.A. she became an analyst in the Superintendencia de AFP, the government body overseeing operation of Chile's by then privatized pension system. Less than a year later she was promoted to head of department.

In 1986 she resigned her government position to become VP of Tourism, Commerce and Securities at Bancard S.A. a position she'd keep until being elected Deputy four years later. In 1988 she was invited to become an adviser for the Social and Economic Commission, and returned to teaching at the Catholic University, this time as a Professor of Introduction to Economics. In November 2015 she announced that she was returning to politics and that she will run for major of Providencia in the municipal elections of 2016.

Political careerEdit

Matthei entered Chilean politics in the late 1980s, after the military government relaxed control over political activity. She joined National Renewal party's youth group called Patrulla Juvenil ("Youth Patrol"), along with future President of Chile Sebastián Piñera, and future fellow senator and minister Andrés Allamand. She was a member of the party's Political Commission and later elected its National Vice president. National Renewal (RN) is a center-rightliberal-conservative party.[citation needed]

In 1990, she was National Renewal's candidate for Deputy for the 23rd Electoral district, representing the upscale communes of Las Condes, Vitacura, and Lo Barnechea, winning by a broad margin. Following her increasing popularity,[7] Matthei was tapped as a potential presidential candidate for the center-right Democracy and Progress Coalition. However, following a highly publicized wire-tapping scandal in 1993 known as  Piñeragate,  involving her and rival presidential hopeful Sebastián Piñera, she was forced to desist from her presidential bid.[7] Disgusted with the way National Renewal leaders dealt with the scandal, she resigned from the party and continued her political career as an independent until 1999.[8]

In 1994, she opted to run for Deputy of the 15th Electoral District of San Antonio, winning the seat as an independent with support from the Independent Democrat Union (UDI) party. Upon completion of her term, Matthei was elected senator in 1997, representing the Coquimbo Region, being re-elected in 2005. In 1999, she joined the Independent Democrat Union. As Senator, she became the first woman to preside over the Senate Budget and Oversight Committee. Matthei resigned from her seat in January 2011 when she was appointed Minister of Labor and Social Security by President Sebastián Piñera.[9]

As Minister, Matthei gained notoriety for her fiery personality and was the center of several heated exchanges with members both of the governing coalition and the opposition.[8] Her relatively liberal[1] views on abortion, same-sex marriage and tax reform deepened a growing rift with her own party, and in March 2013, she confided that she had decided to quit politics following completion of her term as Minister.[10]

On July 17, and after winning the primary, UDI presidential candidate Pablo Longueira resigned citing health reasons. Three days later, the Political Commission of the party unanimously proclaimed Evelyn Matthei as their new presidential candidate for the elections in November.[11] On December 15, 2013 she lost the presidential election to socialist candidate Michelle Bachelet 62% to 38%.

Personal lifeEdit

Evelyn Matthei is married to fellow economist and former Chilean Central Bank Deputy Governor Jorge Desormeaux, with whom she has three children. She is a classically trained pianist, and speaks English and German as well as her native Spanish.[12]

Electoral historyEdit

1989 parliamentary elections

Deputy for the District No. 23 (Las Condes, Vitacura and Lo Barnechea), Santiago Metropolitan Region[13]

Candidate Party Votes % Result
Evelyn Matthei Fornet RN 79,595 42.32 Deputy
Eliana Caraball Martínez DC 49,961 26.56 Deputy
Joaquín Lavín Infante UDI 36,379 19.34
Guido Girardi Lavín PPD 16,318 8.68
José Miguel Ureta Rojas ILE 3,772 2.01
Patricio Hidalgo Marín AN 1,116 0.59
Jorge Martínez Rodríguez ILF 956 0.51
1993 parliamentary elections

Deputy for District No. 15 (San Antonio), Valparaíso Region[14]

Candidate Party Votes % Result
Samuel Venegas Rubio PDC 30,174 39.85 Deputy
Evelyn Matthei Fornet ILB 19,572 25.85 Deputy
Gonzalo Yuseff Sotomayor RN 10,950 14.46
Julio Stuardo González PS 6,719 8.87
Cosme Caracciolo Alvarez PC 3,858 5.10
Mireya Baltra Moreno PC 3,802 5.02
Jorge Blaessinger Lobos IND 645 0.85
1997 parliamentary elections

Senator for the Circunscription No. 4 (Coquimbo Region)[15]

Candidate Party Votes % Result
Jorge Pizarro Soto PDC 82,598 38.30 Senator
Evelyn Matthei Fornet ILB 50,281 23.32 Senator
Erich Schnake Silva PPD 40,728 18.89
Eugenio Munizaga Rodríguez RN 33,612 15.59
Gonzalo Garcia-Huidobro Severin PH 8,439 3.91
2005 parliamentary elections

Senator for the Circunscription No. 4 (Coquimbo Region)[16]

Candidate Party Votes % Result
Jorge Pizarro Soto PDC 101,671 40.37 Senator
Evelyn Matthei Fornet UDI 71,697 28.47 Senator
Jorge Arrate Mac-Niven PS 48,931 19.43
Arturo Longton Guerrero RN 12,571 4.99
Luis Aguilera González PC 10,607 4.21
Joaquín Arduengo Naredo PH 6,384 2.53


  1. ^ a b La Tercera, July 20th, 2013. (Spanish)
  2. ^ a b c Biography, National Congress website (Spanish).
  3. ^ a b Senate Resume Archived 2014-06-30 at the Wayback Machine (Spanish).
  4. ^ a b La Tercera, June 3rd, 2012 (Spanish).
  5. ^ Long, Gideon (17 November 2013). "Chile's election: A tale of two daughters". Retrieved 20 November 2017 – via
  6. ^ "Las frases de Evelyn Matthei en Cooperativa". Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b La Tercera, October 29, 2008 (Spanish)
  8. ^ a b El Mercurio, July 21st, 2013 (Spanish)
  9. ^ "Nuevos ministros realizan juramento en el Palacio de La Moneda". Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  10. ^ 24horas, Televisión Nacional de Chile (Spanish)
  11. ^ Diario Financiero, July 20, 2013 (Spanish)
  12. ^ "Presidency of Chile website". Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  13. ^ Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine Votación Candidatos por Distrito 23, Diputados 1989
  14. ^ Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine Votación Candidatos por Distrito 15, Diputados 1993
  15. ^ Archived 2009-09-09 at the Wayback Machine Votación Candidatos por Circunscripción 4, Senadores 1997
  16. ^ Archived 2009-05-12 at the Wayback Machine Votación Candidatos por Circunscripción 4, Senadores 2005

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