Christian Democratic Party (Chile)

The Christian Democratic Party (Spanish: Partido Demócrata Cristiano, PDC) is a Christian democratic political party in Chile, led by Carolina Goic.

Christian Democratic Party

Partido Demócrata Cristiano
LeaderCarolina Goic
Secretary-GeneralGonzalo Duarte
Chief of DeputiesFuad Chahín
Chief of SenatorsAndres Zaldivar
Founded28 July 1957; 62 years ago (1957-07-28)
Merger ofSocial Christian Conservative Party
National Falange
HeadquartersAv. Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins 1460, Santiago de Chile
Student wingDemocracia Cristiana Universitaria
Youth wingJuventud Demócrata Cristiana
Membership (2017)Decrease 29,719 (7th)[1]
IdeologyChristian democracy[2][3][4]
Social conservatism[5][6]
Third Way[2][3][4]
Political positionCentre[7] to centre-left[4][8]
International affiliationCentrist Democrat International
Regional affiliationChristian Democrat Organization of America
Colours     Azure blue (customary)
Chamber of Deputies
14 / 155
6 / 43
Regional Boards
44 / 278
55 / 345
Communal Councils
388 / 2,224
Party flag
Flag of the Christian Democrat Party of Chile.svg

There have been three Christian Democrat presidents in the past, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Patricio Aylwin, and Eduardo Frei Montalva.

Customarily, the PDC backs specific initiatives in an effort to bridge socialism and laissez-faire capitalism. This economic system has been called "social capitalism" and is heavily influenced by Catholic social teaching or, more generally, Christian ethics. In addition to this objective, the PDC also supports a strong national government while remaining more conservative on social issues. However, after Pinochet's military regime ended the PDC embraced more classical economic policies compared to before the dictatorship. The current Secretary-General of the PDC is Gonzalo Duarte. In their latest "Ideological Congress", the Christian Democrats criticized Chile's current economic system and called for a shift toward a social market economy (economía social de mercado), the economic system created by the post-World War II christian-democratic governments in Europe. However, unlike European countries where christian-democrats usually exist as a conservatives, the PDC often cooperated with centre-left parties until the collapse of the Nueva Mayoría coalition.


The origins of the party go back to the 1930s, when the Conservative Party became split between traditionalist and social-Christian sectors. In 1935, the social-Christians split from the Conservative Party to form the Falange Nacional (National Phalanx), a more socially oriented and centrist group.

The Falange Nacional showed their centrist policies by supporting leftist Juan Antonio Ríos (Radical Party of Chile) in the 1942 presidential elections but Conservative Eduardo Cruz-Coke in the 1946 elections. Despite the creation of the Falange Nacional, many social-Christians remained in the Conservative Party, which in 1949 split into the Social Christian Conservative Party and the Traditionalist Conservative Party. On July 28, 1957, primarily to back the presidential candidacy of Eduardo Frei Montalva, the Falange Nacional, Social Christian Conservative Party, and other like-minded groups joined to form the Christian Democratic Party. Frei lost the elections, but presented his candidacy again in 1964, this time also supported by the right-wing parties. That year, Frei triumphed with 56% of the vote. Despite right-wing backing for his candidacy, Frei declared his planned social revolution would not be hampered by this support.

In 1970, Radomiro Tomic, leader of the left-wing faction of the party, was nominated to the presidency, but lost to socialist Salvador Allende. The Christian Democrat vote was crucial in the Congressional confirmation of Allende's election, since he had received less than the necessary 50%. Although the Christian Democratic Party voted to confirm Allende's election, they declared themselves as part opposition because of Allende's economic policy. By 1973, Allende has lost the support of most Christian Democrats (except for Tomic's left-wing faction), some of whom even began calling for the military to step in. By the time of Pinochet's coup, most Christian Democrats applauded the military takeover, believing that the government would quickly be turned over to them by the military. Once it became clear that Pinochet had no intention of relinquishing power, the Christian Democrats went into opposition. During the 1981 plebiscite where Chilean voted to extend Pinochet's term for eight more years, Eduardo Frei Montalva led the only authorized opposition rally. When political parties were legalized again, the Christian Democratic Party, together with most left-wing parties, agreed to form the Coalition of Parties for the No, which opposed Pinochet's reelection on the 1988 plebiscite. This coalition later became Coalition of Parties for Democracy once Pinochet stepped down from power.

During the first years of the return to democracy, the Christian Democrats enjoyed wide popular support. Presidents Patricio Aylwin and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle were both from that party, and it was also the largest party in Congress. However, the Christian Democrat Andres Zaldívar lost the Coalition of Parties for Democracy 1999 primaries to socialist Ricardo Lagos. In the parliamentary elections of 2005, the Christian Democrats lost eight seats in Congress, and the right-wing Independent Democratic Union became the largest party in the legislative body.

In recent years, the Christian Democrats have favored abortion in three cases (when a pregnancy threatens the mother's life, when the fetus has little chance of survival, and when the pregnancy is a result of rape), but not in any other instances, and opposes on-demand abortion.[9] Also, the Christian Democrats oppose same-sex marriage.

The Christian Democrats left the Nueva Mayoría coalition on 29 April 2017 and nominated current party president Carolina Goic as their candidate for the 2017 presidential election. The Nueva Mayoria has struggled to remain united as differences have opened up within the coalition over approaches to a government reform drive, including changes to the labor code and attempted reform of Chile’s strict abortion laws.[10]

Presidents elected under Christian Democratic PartyEdit

Presidential candidatesEdit

The following is a list of the presidential candidates supported by the Christian Democratic Party. (Information gathered from the Archive of Chilean Elections).

Election resultsEdit

Chamber of Deputies Election
Election Leader Votes % Seats +/- Coalition President
1961 Narciso Irueta 213,468 15.93%
23 / 147 (16%)
N/A Jorge Alessandri (Ind.)
1965 Renán Fuentealba 995,187 43.60%
82 / 147 (56%)
+59 Eduardo Frei (PDC)
1969 Rafael Agustín Gumucio 716,547 31.05%
55 / 150 (37%)
-27 Eduardo Frei Montalva (PDC)
1973 Renán Fuentealba 1,055,120 29.07%
50 / 150 (33%)
-5 Confederation of Democracy Salvador Allende (PS)
Congress Suspended (1973-1989)
1989 Andrés Zaldívar 1,766,347 25.99%
38 / 120 (32%)
N/A Concertación Patricio Aylwin (PDC)
1993 Gutenberg Martínez 1,827,373 27.12%
37 / 120 (31%)
-1 Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (PDC)
1997 Enrique Krauss 1,331,745 22.98%
38 / 120 (32%)
+1 Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (PDC)
2001 Patricio Aylwin 1,162,210 18.92%
23 / 120 (19%)
-15 Ricardo Lagos (PPD)
2005 Adolfo Zaldívar 1,354,631 20.78%
20 / 120 (17%)
-3 Michelle Bachelet (PS)
2009 Juan Carlos Latorre 931,789 14.24%
19 / 120 (16%)
-1 Sebastián Piñera (RN)
2013 Ignacio Walker 965,364 15.56%
22 / 120 (18%)
+3 New Majority Michelle Bachelet (PS)
2017 Carolina Goic 616,550 10.28%
14 / 155 (9%)
-8 Democratic Convergence Sebastian Piñera (Ind.)


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b Pablo Garrido González (December 2012). "Revolución en Libertad, Concepto y programa político de la Democracia cristiana chilena" (PDF). Programa de Historia de Las Ideas Políticas en Chile.
  3. ^ a b c Héctor Gómez Peralta (2012). "Precisiones conceptuales sobre la democracia cristiana y el neo-liberalismo".
  4. ^ a b c Ignacio Walker; Andrés Jouannet (2006). Democracia Cristiana y Concertación: los casos de Chile, Italia y Alemania (PDF). Scielo.
  5. ^ a b Sol Serrano (2005). "Conservadurismo y Democracia Cristiana" (PDF). Centro de Estudios Miguel Enríquez. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  6. ^ Bárbara Sifón (29 July 2014). "Hugo Herrera, académico UDP: "La derecha hace guerrilla política, pero no tiene discurso"". Archived from the original on 17 June 2015.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Eduardo Frei (October 26, 2014). "Eduardo Frei: "Conozco a la DC y no es un partido de derecha sino que de centroizquierda"". El Día. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Chile's governing coalition splits ahead of November election Reuters April 30, 2017

Further readingEdit

  • Luna, Juan Pablo; Monestier, Felipe; Rosenblatt, Fernando (2014). Religious parties in Chile: The Christian Democratic Party and the Independent Democratic Union. Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization. Routledge. pp. 119–137.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Christian Democrat Party of Chile at Wikimedia Commons