The political parties of Chile are three clearly categorized, distinct, political groups: the left-wing, the center and the right-wing. Before the 1973 coup, these three political groups were moderately pluralistic and fragmented.

This distinction has existed since the end of the 19th Century. Since then, the three groups have been made up of different parties. Each party has had some amount of power in the management of the State or has been represented in the National Congress.

Political parties are recognized legally and formally by Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile of 1980 and by the Organic Constitutional Law of Political Parties of 1987 as organizations that participate in the legal political system and contribute to guiding public opinion.

History of Chile's political parties

Origins and the first blocks (1810–1860)

Principal political parties in Ch 1830 and 1970
Principal political parties in Ch 1830 and 1970

In Chile, the first political groups were created during the Independence of Chile: the Royalists and the Patriots. The Royalists wanted to maintain the status quo with the King of Spain, while the Patriots wanted to gain a larger degree of freedom. In turn, the Patriots further split into the Moderates, who wanted a slow pace of reform, and the Radicals or Extremists, who favored a much faster pace. All of the early political groups were shy of advocating for full independence since it was unknown if the King would regain his power from Napoleon.

Once Chile gained independence, many political groupings emerged. They were based on various popular leaders during that time, instead of common political ideas. Two very strong political groupings were the Pipolos (liberals) and the Pelucónes (conservatives). Two minor parties, the O’Higginists and the Tobacconists, were often on the Pelucónes' side. After Diego Portales Palazuelos became the architect of the New Institution and the Constitution of 1833, the Pelucónes prevailed for thirty years (1831–1861).

From 1831–1861, the prevailing political system was one in which the President co-opted a successor. This system greatly influenced the idea that power should be transferred between members of the ruling political faction. It was only the "Question of the Sacristan" (1856), which divided The Pelucónes, allowed for the rise of the Liberals to power in 1861.

Dominance of the traditional parties (1860–1920)

The formal emergence of political parties in Chilean institutions occurred around the 1850s. Chileans began to challenge the President as the leading role in national political life through the National Congress. In 1891, the disagreement was resolved after a Civil War, in favor of a parliamentary system.

Around that time, the rise of the middle class would eventually lead to the creation of the Radical Party. Their campaign started in the 1850s, as a group defending the interests of the silver mine owners, but it would gradually shift its focus to the employees of the growing state bureaucracy. Soon afterwards, from the same branch of radicalism, the Democratic Party appeared. It was a community that was born closer to the working class segment of society, but that over time would join the game of alliances within the rest of the party system.

After the Chilean Civil War of 1891, the political system began to embody elements of a parliamentary system. Hence, the political coalitions became very strong. Although around twenty distinct political parties and movements existed, Chilean politics was structured around two large groups: the Liberal Alliance (of Liberal and Progressive tendency) and the Coalition (Conservative, Catholics). At the same time, political parties, formerly tools of the upper-class, expanded to include the thriving middle and working classes too.

Expansion of political parties (1920–1973)

With the rise of immigration from Europe, workers with anarchist and socialist ideas came to Chile. Additionally, in the mid-19 century, the union movement began in the nitrate fields of the north of Chile through a surge of the joint labor unions. It is from these processes that in 1912, the Workers' Socialist Party was founded in Iquique by the typographer Luis Emilio Recabarren and 30 union workers and employees. The Workers' Socialist Party is defined as the political party of the Chilean working class. In 1922, the party joined the Third Communist International. Since that date, the party has been known as the Communist Party of Chile.

In the period between 1920 and 1938 (between the start of the first presidential term of Arturo Alessandri Palma and the end of his second term) a series of political incidents led to the loss of the importance of traditional nineteenth-century parties, but for the benefit of the "party masses".

The splendor of this new type of political party would come with the three presidential terms of the Radical Party between 1938 and 1952. At that time, the Radical Party (the faction of the middle class, par excellence), transformed into a large body of positions and political favors, which in the long run would lead to its discredit. Its place as an intermediate political group—between the right and the left—would be taken by the Christian Democratic Party. The Christian Democratic Party is the successor of the National Falange, which in turn had split from the declining Conservative Party after the victory of Eduardo Frei Montalva (1964–1970). Regarding political parties, their main characteristic between 1938 and 1973 was their structuring into the classic "three-thirds" system (right, center, and left).

With Salvador Allende, the Popular Unity came to power as a vast political coalition composed of elements from the center and the left. However, the Military Coup of 1973 signified not only the disappearance of the Popular Unity, but the breakdown of the party system and its end during most of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Only in the last year of the military dictatorship was the Organic Constitutional Law of Political Parties enacted, which regulated their formation and function.

Proscription of parties and reorganization (1973–1990)

Between 1973 and 1987, Chilean political parties were prohibited. On October 8, 1973, the members of the Popular Unity were banned and three days later, the rest of the political parties and movements were declared adjourned,[1] and definitively dissolved on March 12, 1977.[2]

On October 1, 1996, the Organic Constitutional Law was published in the Legal Gazette, which re-established the system of electoral registrations and created the Electoral Service of Chile (Servel) as a replacement for the former Directorate of the Electoral Registry.[3] On March 23, 1987, the Organic Constitutional Law of Political Parties was published—which established its objectives, requirements for legalization and the internal organization between others—with which the groups began procedures for their legal recognition.[4]

The National Party was the first political organization to be legally recognized by the Servel on December 23, 1987, inscribed officially in the registry on January 4, 1988.[5] In the following months—before the Plebiscite of October 5, 1988—the National Advance, Humanist, National Renewal, Radical Democracy, Socialist, Christian Democratic (CDP), Party for Democracy, Party of the South, Radical and Green parties were legalized.[6]

Return to democracy (1990–2022)

With the restoration of Democracy in 1990, the prominent political coalition was the Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia (Coalition of Parties for Democracy), a center-left group initially founded by 17 parties, of which the most important, which remained in the coalition throughout the years, were: The Christian Democratic Party, the Socialist Party, the Party for Democracy and the Radical Party. The "Concertación" governed Chile throughout the presidencies of Patricio Aylwin (1990–1994), Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (1994–2000), Ricardo Lagos (2000–2006) and Michelle Bachelet (2006–2010). The opponent of the ruling coalition, was the Alianza (Alliance). The Alliance was a group of center-right parties, formed by the main parties that supported the "YES" option in the 1988 plebiscite. Extra-parliamentarily, there was the leftist coalition Juntos Podemos Más (Together we can do more), formed by the Communist Party, Humanist Party, PC-AP and others left-wing movements, this coalition did not achieve great electoral results due to the binomial system, which favoured the Concertacion and the alliance.

The "Alliance" came to power when Sebastián Piñera (2010–2014) assumed office. In 2013, after electoral losses, the "Concertación", with the intention of renewing its image, decided to make an agreement with the Communist Party, the Citizen Left, and the MAS Region, creating the New Majority. This coalition won comfortable victories in the 2013 elections and achieved re-election of Michelle Bachelet between 2014–2018. In turn, the parties that made up the Alliance, regrouped in 2015 in a new coalition denominated Chile Vamos (Let's go Chile).

In 2016, the number of political parties in Chile doubled, increasing from 14 to 32. It came as a precursor to the municipal elections of the year and the Parliamentary Elections of 2017,[7] given that they will be the first to be held under the new proportional electoral system, the replacement for the binomial system. The binomial system favoured the existence of two blocks to the detriment of isolated parties and independent candidates. In that election, the Frente Amplio (Broad Font) appeared, a coalition that brought together left-wing sectors, which surprisingly won the election of 20 deputies.[8] In the presidential election, Sebastián Piñera was able to return to the government and establish Chile Vamos (Let's go Chile) as an official coalition between 2018–2022.

Constitutional Convention and reorganization of coalitions (2022–present)

After the social outburst of 2019, a plebiscite was held that defined the drafting of a new constitution through a Constitutional Convention. The members of that body were elected in May 2021, in a process that benefited independents over political party militants. The most successful group of independents was The List of the People.

From that election, the coalition Apruebo Dignidad (I Approve Dignity) emerged, which gathered the coalitions Frente Amplio (Broad Front) and Chile Digno (Worthy Chile). This group supported the presidential candidacy of Gabriel Boric, who after winning in the ballot decided to summon the Socialist, For Democracy, Radical and Liberal parties to the government, which were grouped in a coalition called Democratic Socialism. This implied the definitive break of the former Concertación/New Majority with the Christian Democratic Party, which was not invited to the new administration.

From the right-wing emerged the Republican Party, which in the parliamentary elections achieved the election of 14 deputies and one senator, facing the traditional center-right grouped in Chile Vamos, which from 2022 went to the opposition after the end of Piñera's government. Other blocks also emerged in those elections, such as the conservative liberal Partido de la gente (Party of the people).

Political parties

This article lists political parties in Chile. Chile has a multi-party system.


As of December 2022 there are 16 legally constituted political parties in Chile.[9]

Party/Alliance Abbr. Est. Position International
Governors[10] Senators[11] Deputies[12] Regional
Mayors[14] Councilors
Chile Vamos.png
Let's go Chile
Chile Vamos
ChV 2015 Centre-right IDU
0 / 16
20 / 50
41 / 155
107 / 302
64 / 345
733 / 2,240
UDI 2017 (recorte).svg
Independent Democratic Union
Unión Demócrata Independiente
UDI 1983 Right-wing IDU[15]
0 / 16
9 / 50
19 / 155
43 / 302
32 / 345
298 / 2,240
Renovacion Nacional 2014.svg
National Renewal
Renovación Nacional
RN 1987 Centre-right
to right-wing
IDU,[15] CDI[16]
0 / 16
8 / 50
20 / 155
53 / 302
31 / 345
374 / 2,240
Political Evolution
Evolución Política
Evópoli 2012 Centre-right RELIAL
0 / 16
3 / 50
2 / 155
11 / 302
1 / 345
61 / 2,240
Logo of the Democratic Socialism (Chile).svg
Democratic Socialism
Socialismo Democrático
SD 2021 Centre-left None
4 / 16
10 / 50
21 / 155
53 / 302
52 / 345
653 / 2,240
Emblem of the Socialist Party of Chile.svg
Socialist Party
Partido Socialista de Chile
PS 1933 Centre-left PA, SI, FSP,
4 / 16
7 / 50
12 / 155
23 / 302
23 / 345
272 / 2,240
Partido por la Democracia emblema.png
Party for Democracy
Partido por la Democracia
PPD 1987 Centre-left PA, SI,
0 / 16
3 / 50
3 / 155
19 / 302
17 / 345
202 / 2,240
Emblema Partido Radical Chile.svg
Radical Party[a]
Partido Radical de Chile
PR 1863 Centre to
0 / 16
0 / 50
3 / 155
11 / 302
11 / 345
174 / 2,240
Logo nuevo Partido Liberal de Chile.png
Liberal Party[b]
Partido Liberal de Chile
PL 2013 Centre-left LI
0 / 16
0 / 50
3 / 155
0 / 302
1 / 345
5 / 2,240
Apruebo Dignidad logo.svg
Approve Dignity
Apruebo Dignidad
AD 2021 Left-wing
to far-left
0 / 16
4 / 50
31 / 155
52 / 302
17 / 345
304 / 2,240
Partido Comunista de Chile.svg
Communist Party
Partido Comunista de Chile
PCCh 1922 Left-wing
to far-left
0 / 16
2 / 50
12 / 155
21 / 302
6 / 345
155 / 2,240
Federacion Regionalista Verde Social (recorte).png
Social Green Regionalist Federation[c]
Federación Regionalista Verde Social
FREVS 2017 Centre-left
to left-wing
0 / 16
2 / 50
2 / 155
7 / 302
1 / 345
47 / 2,240
Revolucion Democratica.png
Democratic Revolution[d]
Revolución Democrática
RD 2012 Centre-left
to left-wing
0 / 16
1 / 50
6 / 155
12 / 302
6 / 345
43 / 2,240
Convergencia Social (recorte).png
Social Convergence[e]
Convergencia Social
CS 2019 Left-wing PI
0 / 16
0 / 50
6 / 155
10 / 302
4 / 345
52 / 2,240
Comunes logo 2020.png
Comunes 2019 Left-wing FSP
0 / 16
0 / 50
2 / 155
0 / 302
0 / 345
2 / 2,240
Logo de Acción Humanista Chile.png
Humanist Action[g]
Acción Humanista
AH 2020 Left-wing None
0 / 16
0 / 43
6 / 155
12 / 302
6 / 345
43 / 2,240
Emblem of the Christian Democrat Party of Chile.svg
Christian Democratic Party
Partido Demócrata Cristiano
PDC 1957 Centre to
2 / 16
3 / 50
7 / 155
36 / 302
46 / 345
315 / 2,244
Partido Republicano (Chile, 2019).svg
Republican Party
Partido Republicano de Chile
PLR 2019 Far-right None
0 / 16
1 / 50
11 / 155
15 / 302
0 / 345
11 / 2,240
Partido de la Gente.svg
Party of the People
Partido de la Gente
PDG 2019 Centre-right
to right-wing
0 / 16
0 / 50
6 / 155
22 / 302
0 / 345
1 / 2,244

In formation or in process

Currently, ten political parties are in the process of legalization:[17]





See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Between 1994 and 2018 it was called the Social Democratic Radical Party for the fusion of the Chilean Social Democracy Party (Partido Socialdemocracia Chilena, founded 1971) and the Radical Party of Chile (Partido Radical de Chile, founded 1863). In 2018 the party regained the name "Radical Party."
  2. ^ Operates only in AP, TA, AN, VA, RM, BI, and LL.
  3. ^ A fusion of Regional and Popular Front, Green North Regional Force, Social Agrarian Regionalist Independent Movement and We Are Aysén parties; operates in all regions except NB, LR, LL, and MA.
  4. ^ Operates in all regions except AP and MA.
  5. ^ Operates in all regions except AP, TA and AI.
  6. ^ A fusion of the Poder Ciudadano and Poder Ciudadano del Norte parties; operates in all regions except ML, NB, BI, AR, LR, AI, and MA.
  7. ^ Operates only in AP, TA and AN.
  1. ^ Ministerio del Interior de Chile (11 October 1973). "Decreto Ley 78" (PDF). Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  2. ^ Ministerio del Interior de Chile (12 March 1977). "Declara disueltos los partidos políticos, entidades, agrupaciones, facciones o movimientos de carácter político no comprendidos en el Decreto Ley N° 77, de 1973". Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  3. ^ Ministerio del Interior de Chile (11 September 1986). "Ley Orgánica Constitucional sobre Sistema de Inscripciones Electorales y Servicio Electoral". LeyChile. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  4. ^ Ministerio del Interior de Chile (11 March 1987). "Ley Orgánica Constitucional de los Partidos Políticos". LeyChile. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  5. ^ Servicio Electoral (23 December 1987). "Inscribe al Partido Nacional en el Registro de Partidos Políticos". Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  6. ^ Servicio Electoral de Chile (2010). "Libro de Partidos Políticos" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  7. ^ ""Explosión" de partidos políticos reconfigura el mapa electoral de cara a 2017". El Mercurio. 3 July 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Frente Amplio llega al Congreso como la gran sorpresa de estas elecciones". 20 November 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Partidos Constituidos". Servicio Electoral (in Spanish). 9 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  10. ^ "Revisa el listado de gobernadores regionales a lo largo de Chile".
  11. ^ "Actuales Senadores ordenados alfabéticamente". Senate of Chile (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Partidos Políticos". Chamber of Deputies of Chile (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-01-30. Retrieved 2020-03-12.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "El mapa de las elecciones municipales: Cómo se repartieron las comunas del país las fuerzas políticas e independientes". Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Partidos Miembros".
  16. ^ a b "parties".
  17. ^ "Partidos en Formación". Servicio Electoral (in Spanish). 14 November 2022. Retrieved 14 November 2022.


External links