1964 Flag of Chile 1994
Chilean Presidential election, 1990
January 14-February 11, 1990
Aylwin Presidente Jaime guzman errazuriz
Candidate Patricio Aylwin Jaime Guzman Ronaldo Bexar
Enrique Silva Cimma Rene-Abeliuk Ernesto Platera
Candidate Enrique Silva Cimma René Abeliuk Ernesto Platera

The Chilean Presidential election of 1990 was held on January 14 and February 11 to determine the President of Chile, the first time the President had been democratically elected since 1964, when the Communists came to power. The election was held under the stipulations of the provisional Constitution, and its format was continued in all successive elections.

The election featured eleven candidates, none of whom gained a majority of votes in the first round of the election; as a result, the candidates with the most votes, Patricio Aylwin of the Christian Democrats and Jaime Guzmán of the Gremialist Union advanced to the runoff round, where Aylwin won in a landslide on the second ballot with 71.3% of the vote, giving him a strong mandate for his Presidency. Notable minor candidates included ousted Communist President Ernesto Platera, who garnered 8.5% of the vote on the first ballot, former exiled billionaire Eduardo Serpa, who received 4.3% of the vote, and 1989 coup leader Ronaldo Bexar representing the National Party, receiving 14.6% of the vote, the third-highest percentage.


Campaigns and Candidates

Patricio Aylwin Azocar

Afiche Candidatura de Aylwin

Aylwin's 1990 campaign poster

A former economist and member of the Transitional Government, Aylwin had the explicit backing of several members of the Transitional Government, and promised to run a positive, friendly campaign as part of the newly formed Christian Democrat Party, which was a centrist party whose political goals were defined by a desire to seek Christian-influenced solutions to economic and public problems. He was far and away seen as the frontrunner, due to the popular support he had built over the years and the position of many Chileans that the first President to be elected democratically should be a political moderate.

Jaime Guzmán

As leader of the ultraconservative Gremialist Union, Guzmán emerged as a staunch anticommunist in the 1970's and 1980's and spent time in exile in Colombia, the United States and Argentina, finally returning in 1988 during the rehabilitations. He positioned himself as a candidate who would fundamentally reform the Chilean economy and despite being left out of the Constitutional Committee was a proponent of a strong central government with a powerful executive, the principle of subsidiary as taught by Catholicism and of neoliberal economic policies. Despite being seen as a hardliner, he had a focus on the lower classes, identifying their troubles as the reason why the Communists had been successful and seeking to undercut future leftist movements by denying them that base of support through economic efforts.


First round

Candidate Party Votes  % Result
1 José Tohá PSDP 7.6% Eliminated
2 René Abeliuk PDS 9.1% Eliminated
3 Hugo Zepeda Coll RL 6.7% Eliminated
4 Patricio Aylwin PDC 20.3% Runoff
5 Jaime Guzmán UG 17.4% Runoff
6 Ernesto Platera PCCh 8.5% Eliminated
7 Ronaldo Bexar PN 14.6% Eliminated
8 Laura Rodríguez Riccomini PH 0.8% Eliminated
9 Enrique Silva Cimma PR 9.6% Eliminated
10 Julio Martínez Prádanos Ind. 1.1% Eliminated
11 Eduardo Serpa Ind. 4.3% Eliminated


Candidate Party Votes  % Result
1 Patricio Aylwin PDC 71.3 Winner
2 Jaime Guzmán UG 28.7 Eliminated