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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 by Patricio Aylwin
Succeeded by Ricardo Lagos
Member of the Senate of Chile
In office
11 March 2006 – 11 March 2014
Preceded by Gabriel Valdés Subercaseaux
Succeeded by Alfonso de Urresti
Constituency North Los Lagos Region
In office
11 March 1990 – 11 March 1994
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by María Elena Carrera
Constituency East Santiago
President of the Senate of Chile
In office
11 March 2006 – 11 March 2008
Preceded by Sergio Romero Pizarro
Succeeded by Adolfo Zaldívar
Senator for life
In office
11 March 2000 – 11 March 2006
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Eduardo Alfredo Juan Bernardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle

(1942-06-24) 24 June 1942 (age 81)
Santiago, Chile
Nationality Chilean, Swiss
Political party Christian Democratic
Marta Larraechea Bolívar
(m. 1967)
Children Verónica
Relatives Carmen Frei (Sister)
Alma mater University of Chile
Occupation Civil 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

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

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.


Eduardo Frei 1998
President Frei in 1998
The Frei Ruiz-Tagle Cabinet
Office Name Party Term
President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle DC 11 March 1994–11 March 2000
Interior Germán Correa PS 11 March 1994–20 September 1994
Carlos Figueroa Serrano DC 20 September 1994–11 March 2000
Raúl Troncoso DC 1 August 1998–11 March 2000
Foreign Affairs Carlos Figueroa Serrano DC 11 March 1994–20 September 1994
José Miguel Insulza PS 20 September 1994–22 July 1999
Juan Gabriel Valdés PS 22 July 1999–11 March 2000
Defense Edmundo Pérez Yoma DC 11 March 1994–16 January 1998
Raúl Troncoso DC 16 January 1998–1 August 1998
José Florencio Guzmán DC 1 August 1998–22 June 1999
Edmundo Pérez Yoma DC 22 June 1999–11 March 2000
Finance Eduardo Aninat DC 11 March 1994–3 December 1999
Manuel Marfán PS 3 December 1999–11 March 2000
Gen. Sec. of the
Genaro Arriagada DC 11 March 1994–28 September 1996
Juan Villarzú DC 28 September 1996–1 August 1998
John Biehl Ind. 1 August 1998–29 July 1999
José Miguel Insulza PS 29 July 1999–11 March 2000
Gen. Sec. of
Víctor Manuel Rebolledo PPD 11 March 1994–20 September 1994
José Joaquín Brunner PPD 20 September 1994–1 August 1998
Jorge Arrate PS 1 August 1998–22 June 1999
Carlos Mladinic DC 22 June 1999–11 March 2000
Economy Álvaro García Hurtado PPD 11 March 1994–1 August 1998
Jorge Leiva Lavalle PPD 1 August 1998–11 March 2000
Luis Maira PS 11 March 1994–28 September 1994
Roberto Pizarro Hofer PS 28 September 1994–19 May 1998
Germán Quintana DC 19 May 1998–11 March 2000
Education Ernesto Schifelbein Ind. 11 March 1994–20 September 1994
Sergio Molina Silva DC 20 September 1994–28 September 1996
José Pablo Arellano DC 28 September 1996–11 March 2000
Justice Soledad Alvear DC 11 March 1994–16 December 1999
José Antonio Gómez PRSD 16 December 1999–11 March 2000
Labor Jorge Arrate PS 11 March 1994–1 August 1998
Germán Molina Valdivieso PPD 1 August 1998–11 March 2000
Public Works Ricardo Lagos PPD 11 March 1994–11 March 1998
Jaime Tohá PS 11 March 1998–11 March 2000
Health Carlos Massad DC 11 March 1994–7 August 1996
Álex Figueroa DC 7 August 1996–11 March 2000
Housing &
Edmundo Hermosilla DC 11 March 1994–24 July 1997
Sergio Henríquez Ind. 27 July 1997–11 March 2000
Agriculture Emiliano Ortega DC 11 March 1994–28 September 1996
Carlos Mladinic DC 28 September 1996–22 July 1999
Ángel Sartori DC 22 July 1999–11 March 2000
Mining Benjamín Teplizky PRSD 11 March 1994–3 August 1997
Sergio Jiménez Moraga PRSD 3 August 1997–11 March 2000
Transport &
Narciso Irureta DC 11 March 1994–28 September 1996
Claudio Hohmann Ind. 28 September 1996–11 March 2000
National Assets Adriana Delpiano PPD 11 March 1994–13 April 1999
Jorge Heine PPD 13 April 1999–13 August 1999
Sergio Galilea PPD 13 August 1999–11 March 2000
Environment Alejandro Jadresic Ind. 11 March 1994–5 January 1998
Álvaro García Hurtado PPD 5 January 1998–1 August 1998
Jorge Leiva Lavalle PPD 1 August 1998–24 November 1998
Óscar Landerretche PS 24 November 1998–11 March 2000
Women Josefina Bilbao Ind. 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.

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.

FreiRuiz-Tagle Zaldivar
Frei with Senator Andrés Zaldívar

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

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

Return to the Congress

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.

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. 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 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."

Styles, honours and arms

Presidential styles of
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Flag of the President of Chile
Reference style His Excellency
Spoken style Your Excellency
Alternative style Mr. President

National honours

  • Grand Master (1994–2000) and Collar of the Order of Merit
  • Grand Master (1994–2000) and Collar of the Order of Bernardo O'Higgins

Foreign honours

  •  Peru:
    • PER Order of the Sun of Peru - Commander BAR.png Commander of the Order of the Sun (Peru)
  •  Italy:
  •  Croatia:
    • Ribbon of an order of king Tomislav.png Grand Cross of the Grand Order of King Tomislav ("For outstanding achievements in promoting the development of friendship and fruitful cooperation in political, cultural and economic development between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Chile, and in promoting peace, democracy, stability and international cooperation in the world on the basis of the principles of the UN Charter and the provisions of international law." – 8 November 1994)
  •  Malaysia:
    • MY Darjah Utama Seri Mahkota Negara (Crown of the Realm) - DMN.svg Honorary Recipient of the Order of the Crown of the Realm (1995)
  •  Poland:
    • POL Order Zaslugi RP kl1 BAR.svg Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
  •  Spain:
    • Order of Isabella the Catholic - Sash of Collar.svg Knight of the Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, 3 March 1995
    • Member of the Club de Madrid, an independent non-profit organization created to promote democracy and change in the international community, composed by more than 100 members: former democratic Heads of State and Government from around the world.
  •  Uruguay
    • Medal of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay - ribbon bar.gif Medal of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (1996)


See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle para niños

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