Patricio Aylwin took office as President of Chile on November of March of 1990, bringing the so – called transition period began to bourgeois democracy in that country. During his mandate, the neoliberal economic model and the implementation of the institutions of formal democracy were continued.
In the 1993 presidential election, the Christian-Democratic candidate of the National Concertation for Democracy, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, son of the former president Eduardo Frei Montalva, defeated Arturo Alessandri, the center-right candidate. The Chilean government had to face a development of poverty in certain classes of the population, and an increase in violence and insecurity in the cities. The 25 of June of 1996, the country became an associate member of the Mercosur.
The coalition in power (Christian Democrats and Social Democrats) gathered the majority of the votes expressed in the municipal elections of October 1996. It also won the legislative elections of December 11, 1997. The October to March of 1998, General Pinochet relinquished command of the Armed Forces to enter a hostile climate in the Senate and occupy a seat for life.
A serious internal crisis was caused by the arrest of General Pinochet by the British police on October 16, 1998. The Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón demanded the extradition to Spain of the former head of the Military Junta, in order to try him for the crimes of “Genocide”, “torture” and “disappearances” committed during the dictatorship. The revelations were made regarding the ” Condor ” plan, which coordinated, during the dictatorships, repressive action against opponents in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Seventeen months later, British Home Secretary Jack Straw rejected General Pinochet’s extradition request to Spain; The latter was thus able to return to his country, where the Court of Appeals of Santiago de Chile voted, on May 23, 2000, to lift his parliamentary immunity.
On January 16, 2000, Ricardo Lagos Escobar, candidate of the Democratic Concertation, a center-left coalition in power for ten years, was elected president of Chile with 51.3% of the vote. He was the first socialist president of Chile after Salvador Allende, although he continued the neoliberal model. He pledged to make human rights a priority for his government and spoke in favor of a trial of Augusto Pinochet upon his return to Chile.
He strengthened economic relations with the United States government by signing in 2003, after years of negotiations, a free trade agreement. But despite having positive achievements in the macroeconomy, inequality persisted in the population in access to health, education and housing.
This government in 2003 increased compulsory and free education from eight years to 12, which ensures that young people are assured of education until they finish high school.
The 1 of October of 2004, Michelle Bachelet leaves the Ministry of Defense of Chile, devoting himself entirely to the electoral campaign and on September 8, made official his candidacy in the Electoral Service. His campaign culminated on December 8 with an act in the former National Congress and in the presidential elections of December 11, he imposed himself on the other three presidential candidates, obtaining 45.95% of the votes, 20 points more than his most contender. near.
A month later, 15 of January of 2006, electoral and second with 53.49% of the national vote, return becomes the first woman elected President in the Republican history of Chile.
The return of the right to government
The little impact of Bachelet’s social measures and the lack of support from the electorate for the claims of former president Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle in his intention of a new term determined that on January 17, 2010, in the second electoral round of In the presidential election, the billionaire Sebastián Piñera was elected president of Chile with 51.61% of the validly cast votes, surpassing Eduardo Frei who obtained 48.38%, ending 20 years of Concertación governments.
After the publication of the official results and after he was recognized as president-elect, Piñera would begin to announce to the members of his ministerial cabinet, which for the first time after the departure of Pinochet would include important figures from the strong Chilean right. Among these figures, the following stand out: Felipe Larraín Bascuñán, Alfredo Moreno Charme and Laurence Golborne Rivero, appointed to the important Treasury, Foreign Relations and Mining portfolios, respectively. One of his most controversial appointments would be that of Minister of Education, as he would name one of the leaders of the Independent Democratic Union -UDI- (one of the Pinochet parties), the businessman Joaquín Lavín who was criticized for his ties with the private sector of The education.
His time as president would be one of the most questionable in Chilean history. Since his inauguration, Piñera developed a plan of measures that were nothing more than the background of a great privatization plan that sought to free the Chilean State from control over key sectors and favor the claims of the private sector. Thus would come the projects for the sale of copper exploitation companies, sale of tenders for the exploitation of mineral resources in state areas as well as direct plans against education and health, the latter would lead to the largest demonstrations on Chilean soil after the fight against the dictatorship.
In May 2011, the National Congress began the discussion of a new project to modify the Chilean educational system, which among its proposals proposed to increase the price of tuition as well as free the Chilean state from attendance at the secondary and preparatory levels. Sebastian Piñera he joined forces with his collaborators from Renovación Nacional and the UDI to present to the country the project of an “efficient and competitive education” arguing the need to free the government from the “burden of Education.” On June 1 in an address from La Moneda, Piñera defended the project and declared false the arguments of several student leaders who highlighted the plan as exclusive, unequal and above all mercantilist since it established education as just another business.
One day later, the 2 of June of 2011 thousands of Chilean students threw themselves on strike against Pinera measures and privatization plans. The demonstrations were centered in the cities of Santiago and in the cities of Talca, Valparaíso, Concepción, Temuco, La Serena, Coquimbo, Valdivia and Puerto Montt. After these events, a process of student struggle for free and equal access to education centers would take place, promoted by various student organizations, mainly by the Federation of Chilean Students (FECH).
The November to March of 2018 the conservative Sebastian Pinera assumed his second term as president of Chile.
In the traditional act of investiture in the National Congress with Maya Fernández, the granddaughter of Salvador Allende, in charge of the Chamber, and Carlos Montes, of the Senate, Piñera was promoted for the second time to the head of the Palacio de La Moneda for a period of four years.