Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle

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Eduardo Frei Ruiz–Tagle
Eduardo Frei Chiledebate.jpg
Frei in Chiledebate (2009)
31st President of Chile
In office
11 March 1994 – 11 March 2000
Preceded byPatricio Aylwin
Succeeded byRicardo Lagos
Member of the Senate of Chile
In office
11 March 2006 – 11 March 2014
Preceded byGabriel Valdés Subercaseaux
Succeeded byAlfonso de Urresti
ConstituencyNorth Los Lagos Region
In office
11 March 1990 – 11 March 1994
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byMaría Elena Carrera
ConstituencyEast Santiago
President of the Senate of Chile
In office
11 March 2006 – 11 March 2008
Preceded bySergio Romero Pizarro
Succeeded byAdolfo Zaldívar
Senator for life
In office
11 March 2000 – 11 March 2006
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Personal details
Eduardo Alfredo Juan Bernardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle

(1942-06-24) 24 June 1942 (age 80)
Santiago, Chile
NationalityChilean, Swiss
Political partyChristian Democratic
(m. 1967)
RelativesCarmen Frei (Sister)
Alma materUniversity of Chile
OccupationCivil engineer

Eduardo Alfredo Juan Bernardo Frei Ruiz–Tagle (Spanish pronunciation: [eˈðwaɾðo alˈfɾeðo ˈxwam beɾˈnaɾðo ˈfɾej rwis ˈtaɣle]; born 24 June 1942) is a Chilean politician and civil engineer who served as president of Chile from 1994 to 2000. He was also a Senator, fulfilling the role of President of the Senate from 2006 to 2008. He attempted a comeback as the candidate of the ruling Concertación coalition for the 2009 presidential election, but was narrowly defeated. His father was Eduardo Frei Montalva, president of Chile from 1964 to 1970.

Early life[edit]

Frei was born in Santiago to Eduardo Frei Montalva and María Ruiz-Tagle Jiménez. 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.

Political career[edit]

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 Comité Pro Elecciones Libres ("Committee for the promotion of free elections"). In 1989, he was elected Senator for Santiago, obtaining the highest number 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.


President Frei in 1998.
The Frei Ruiz-Tagle Cabinet
PresidentEduardo Frei Ruiz-TagleDC11 March 1994–11 March 2000
InteriorGermán CorreaPS11 March 1990–20 September 1994
Carlos Figueroa SerranoDC20 September 1994–11 March 2000
Raúl TroncosoDC1 August 1998–11 March 2000
Foreign AffairsCarlos Figueroa SerranoDC11 March 1994–20 September 1994
José Miguel InsulzaPS20 September 1994–22 July 1999
Juan Gabriel ValdésPS22 July 1999–11 March 2000
DefenseEdmundo Pérez YomaDC11 March 1994–16 January 1998
Raúl TroncosoDC16 January 1998–1 August 1998
José Florencio GuzmánDC1 August 1998–22 June 1999
Edmundo Pérez YomaDC22 June 1999–11 March 2000
FinanceEduardo AninatDC11 March 1994–3 December 1999
Manuel MarfánPS3 December 1999–11 March 2000
Gen. Sec. of the
Genaro ArriagadaDC11 March 1994–28 September 1996
Juan VillarzúDC28 September 1996–1 August 1998
John BiehlInd.1 August 1998–29 July 1999
José Miguel InsulzaPS29 July 1999–11 March 2000
Gen. Sec. of
Víctor Manuel RebolledoPPD11 March 1994–20 September 1994
José Joaquín BrunnerPPD20 September 1994–1 August 1998
Jorge ArratePS1 August 1998–22 June 1999
Carlos MladinicDC22 June 1999–11 March 2000
EconomyÁlvaro García HurtadoPPD11 March 1994–1 August 1998
Jorge Leiva LavallePPD1 August 1998–11 March 2000
Luis MairaPS11 March 1994–28 September 1994
Roberto Pizarro HoferPS28 September 1994–19 May 1998
Germán QuintanaDC19 May 1998–11 March 2000
EducationErnesto SchifelbeinInd.11 March 1994–20 September 1994
Sergio Molina SilvaDC20 September 1994–28 September 1996
José Pablo ArellanoDC28 September 1996–11 March 2000
JusticeSoledad AlvearDC11 March 1994–16 December 1999
José Antonio GómezPRSD16 December 1999–11 March 2000
LaborJorge ArratePS11 March 1994–1 August 1998
Germán Molina ValdiviesoPPD1 August 1998–11 March 2000
Public WorksRicardo LagosPPD11 March 1994–11 March 1998
Jaime ToháPS11 March 1998–11 March 2000
HealthCarlos MassadDC11 March 1994–7 August 1996
Álex FigueroaDC7 August 1996–11 March 2000
Housing &
Edmundo HermosillaDC11 March 1994–24 July 1997
Sergio HenríquezInd.27 July 1997–11 March 2000
AgricultureEmiliano OrtegaDC11 March 1994–28 September 1996
Carlos MladinicDC28 September 1996–22 July 1999
Ángel SartoriDC22 July 1999–11 March 2000
MiningBenjamín TeplizkyPRSD11 March 1994–3 August 1997
Sergio Jiménez MoragaPRSD3 August 1997–11 March 2000
Transport &
Narciso IruretaDC11 March 1994–28 September 1996
Claudio HohmannInd.28 September 1996–11 March 2000
National AssetsAdriana DelpianoPPD11 March 1994–13 April 1999
Jorge HeinePPD13 April 1999–13 August 1999
Sergio GalileaPPD13 August 1999–11 March 2000
EnvironmentAlejandro JadresicInd.11 March 1994–5 January 1998
Álvaro García HurtadoPPD5 January 1998–1 August 1998
Jorge Leiva LavallePPD1 August 1998–24 November 1998
Óscar LanderretchePS24 November 1998–11 March 2000
WomenJosefina BilbaoInd.11 March 1994–11 March 2000

In 1992, Frei participated in the presidential primary election of his coalition, defeating Ricardo Lagos, and then went on to win the presidential elections of 1993 by securing 58% of the votes cast.[1]

He took office on 11 March 1994 and was succeeded by Lagos in 2000. Frei's presidency was notable in making improvements in health and education as well as reducing poverty.[2]

Frei with Senator Andrés Zaldívar.

Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, had particularly good relations with his Argentine counterpart Carlos Menem.[3] During Frei's ternure the Laguna del Desierto territorial dispute with Argentina was solved, albeit the arbitage favoured the Argentine position.[3]

Following the end of his presidency, Frei assumed, as a former President, a seat as senator-for-life in Congress.

Return to the Congress[edit]

Since constitutional reforms in 2005 abolished life senators from 2006, Frei ran for and won an elected Senate seat in the December 2005 parliamentary elections in the electoral district of Valdivia Province and Osorno Province, together with Andrés Allamand. On 11 March 2006 Frei became President of the Senate, like his father, who was also President of the Senate after being President of the Republic.

Frei, whose grandfather Eduardo Frei Schlinz had emigrated to Chile from Switzerland, obtained Swiss citizenship in February 2009.[4][5][6][7][8]

In 2009-2010 elections, Frei ran for the presidency of Chile for a second time, again as the candidate of the centre-left Concertación center-coalition, promising continuity of the popular outgoing President Michelle Bachelet's path.[9] Some of his presidential campaign banners and billboards pictured him, accompanied by Bachelet over his left shoulder. In the first round of the elections, held on 13 December 2009, Frei held 29.60% of the official vote, second to his opponent Sebastián Piñera, who led with 44.05%. Since neither candidate received more than half of the total votes, a runoff election was held on Sunday, 17 January 2010. The first preliminary results announced by the Deputy Interior Ministry at 21:00 GMT on election day gave Piñera 51.87% and Frei holding 48.12%. Frei conceded[10] to Piñera at 21:44 GMT.

In a graceful exit from the campaign, 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."[11]

Styles, honours and arms[edit]

Presidential styles of
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Flag of the President of Chile
Reference styleHis Excellency
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Alternative styleMr. President

National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]



  1. ^ 10th, Ed 2002 (2001). South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2002. Psychology Press. ISBN 9781857431216.
  2. ^ Archived 2011-01-17 at the Wayback Machine>
  3. ^ a b "La estrecha relación de Menem con Chile:Sus opositores decían que era "prochileno"". Emol (in Spanish). El Mercurio. 14 February 2021. Retrieved 15 February 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Swiss citizenship for Chile's Frei criticised". swissinfo. 14 January 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Wird ein Schweizer Präsident von Chile?". Berner Zeitung (in German). 9 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  6. ^ "¿Un suizo, el próximo Presidente de Chile?". Swissinfo (in Spanish). 12 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  7. ^ "Schweizer Pass für Eduardo Frei". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). 12 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  8. ^ "El candidado chileno Frei tiene desde hace dos meses la nacionalidad suiza" (in Spanish). Agence France-Presse. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
  9. ^ "PREVIEW-Chile right seen ousting left in first since Pinochet". Reuters. 9 December 2009.
  10. ^ Gardner, Simon (17 January 2010). "Chile's Frei concedes defeat to Pinera in vote". Reuters.
  11. ^ China Daily Billionaire Sebastian Pinera wins Chile presidency
  12. ^ "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang, dan Pingat Persekutuan".
  13. ^ Royal Decree 334/1995. Spanish Official Journal
  14. ^ Club de Madrid is an independent non-profit organization created to promote “Democracy that Delivers”. It is composed of more than 100 Members, all democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world.
  15. ^ "Resolución N° 709/996". Retrieved 27 November 2020.

External links[edit]

Assembly seats
New constituency Senator for East Santiago
Succeeded by
Preceded by Senator for the Los Ríos Region
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by President of the Christian Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by Christian Democratic nominee for President of Chile
Succeeded by
Concertación nominee for President of Chile
Preceded by Christian Democratic nominee for President of Chile
Succeeded by
Concertación nominee for President of Chile
Political alliance dissolved
Political offices
Preceded by President of Chile
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Senate of Chile
Succeeded by