Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Chilean Christian Democrats
Chilean presidential candidates
Chilean Roman Catholics
Presidents of Chile
Chileans of Swiss descent
Swiss people of Chilean descent
Chilean Christian Democrats Forum
Eduardo Alfredo Juan Bernardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle is a Chilean-Swiss politician and civil engineer who was President of Chile from 1994 to 2000. He is currently Senator for Los Rios and was President of the Senate from 2006 to 2008. He attempted a comeback as the candidate of the ruling Concertacion coalition for the 2009 presidential election, but was narrowly defeated.
Frei was born in Santiago to Eduardo Frei Montalva and Maria Ruiz-Tagle Jimenez. He received all his schooling at the Luis Campino Institute. He then attended the University of Chile, where he graduated as a Civil Engineer, specializing in hydraulics. After graduation, he followed advanced courses in management in Italy.
Frei, whose grandfather Eduardo Frei Schlinz emigrated to Chile from Switzerland, obtained Swiss citizenship in February 2009.
Frei took his first steps in politics while at the university, where he was a student leader. In 1958, he joined the Christian Democrat party, and in 1964 participated actively in his father's successful presidential campaign. Between 1969 and 1988 he concentrated on his profession, as one of the partners of Sigdo Koppers S.A., the largest engineering company in Chile.
In 1988 Frei founded and promoted the Comite Pro Elecciones Libres ("Committee for the promotion of free elections"). In 1989 he was elected Senator for Santiago, obtaining the highest amount of votes in the whole country. In the Senate, he presided over the Treasury and Budget commission, and was a member of the Housing commission.
In 1992 Frei participated in the primary presidential elections of his coalition, where he defeated Ricardo Lagos, and then went on to win the presidential elections in 1993. He took office on March 11, 1994 and was succeeded by Lagos in 2000. Frei assumed then, as a former President, a seat as senator-for-life in Congress. Given that Constitutional reforms in 2005 abolished life senators starting in 2006, Frei ran for an elected Senate seat in the December 2005 parliamentary elections and was victorious. He was elected in the electoral district of Valdivia Province and Osorno Province together with Andres Allamand. On March 11, 2006 Frei became President of the Senate, like his father, who was also President of the Senate after being President of the Republic.
In 2009-2010, Frei ran for the presidency of Chile for a second time, again as the candidate of the centre-left Concertacion center-coalition, promising continuity of the popular outgoing President Michelle Bachelet's path. Some of his presidential campaign banners and billboards pictured him accompanied by Michelle Bachelet over his left shoulder. In the first round of the elections, held on December 13, 2009, Frei held 29.60% of the official vote, second to his opponent Sebastian Pinera, who led with 44.05%. Since neither candidate received more than half of the total votes, a run-off election was held on Sunday, January 17, 2010. The first preliminary results announced by the Deputy Interior Ministry at 21:00 GMT on election day gave Pinera 51.87% and Frei holding 48.12%. Frei conceded to Pinera at 21:44 GMT.
In a graceful exit from the campaign, former President Eduardo Frei stated,
"The election is over and Chileans have shown civic maturity... The results clearly show the solidity of our democracy. It has been clean and transparent in line with our tradition. I want to congratulate Pinera, to whom most Chileans have given their trust for the next four years."
Biography by CIDOB Foundation (in Spanish)
Genealogical chart of Frei-Montalva Family
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle