Christian Democratic Party

Published 14th November, 2013

The Christian Democratic Party or PDC was founded on 28th July 1957 as a merger of the Falange Nacional (National Phalanx) and the Social Christian Conservative Party (Partido Conservador Social Cristiano). The party describes itself as Centrist and believes in Christian democracy, Christian humanism and Centrism.

In the 1961 general election the party won 23 of the 167 seats in the Chamber of Deputies but grew rapidly and in 1965 was the largest party with 82 of the 147 seats. In dropped back in 1969 to 56 of 150 seats and again in 1973 to 50 seats before the coup d’état which installed General Augusto Pinochet.

At first the party was broadly supportive of the military junta but they lost their enthusiasm as they witnessed evidence of human rights abuse. In 1977 the party was banned but in 1983 they formed the Democratic Alliance (AD) and in 1986 signed the National Accord, an opposition document seeking a transition to democracy.

In 1989 after the return to democracy the party won 38 of the 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and was the largest party. In 1993 it took 37 seats and in 1997 it won 38 seats. After that the party started a period of decline, winning 23 seats in 2001, 20 seats in 2005 and just 19 seats in 2009.

In 1988 the PDC joined with left-wing parties to create the Concert of Parties for Democracy (Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia) which is better known as Concertación. It has been most successful in electing presidents, having won every presidential election until 2010. The presidents the PDC has supported include 1989, Patricio Aylwin; 1993, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle; 1999, Ricardo Lagos and 2005, Michelle Bachelet. The party is supporting Michelle Bachelet again in 2013.

The Christian Democratic Party is a member of Centrist Democrat International, Alliance of Democrats and regionally the Christian Democrat Organization of America.

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