Chile

Independent Democratic Union


Published 14th November, 2013

The Independent Democratic Union or UDI was founded on 24th September 1983 under the leadership of Jaime Guzmán. It describes itself as Right-wing and believes in Conservatism, National conservatism, Social conservatism, Economic liberalism and Gremialismo.

The UDI were originally supportive of the military government of General Augusto Pinochet. In 1987 they joined forces with two other parties, the National Union Movement (Movimiento de Unión Nacional, MUN) and the National Labour Front (Frente Nacional del Trabajo, FNT) to form the National Renewal (Renovación Nacional, RN). They left the RN in 1988 when they decided to back General Pinochet in his bid to extend his presidency whilst the other two parties preferred an open election.

Following the plebiscite of 1988, a general election was held in 1989 and the UDI won 11 seats in the 120 seat Chamber of Deputies (lower house). The party suffered a setback in 1991 when its leader Jaime Guzmán was assassinated by left wing terrorists.

But in general elections the number of seats they gained steadily increased; in 1993 to 15 seats and then 17 seats in 1997. In 2001 the UDI became the largest party in the lower house with 31 seats; they increased that to 33 seats in 2005 and then 37 seats in the 2009 election.

The UDI was unable to turn their electoral success at general elections into success in electing a president until 2010 when Sebastián Piñera under the Coalition for Change banner, of which the UDI was a member, was elected with 51.61% of the vote.

The Independent Democratic Union is a member of the International Democrat Union (IDU) and the Union of Latin American Parties.

Evelyn Matthei website


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