Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 12, 2016
Document Release Date: 
May 31, 2001
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
February 7, 1961
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP79S00427A000500010003-1.pdf191.97 KB
Approved For Release 2001/08/08 :SEEKE'S00427A000500010003-1 n CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY OFFICE OF CURRENT INTELLIGENCE 7 February 1961 OCI No.0070/61 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE MEMORANDUM SUBJECT: Chilean congressional elections of 5 March 1961 Copy No. 35 1. Offices to be filled: All 147 seats in the Chamber of Deputies for a four-year term and 25 of the 45 Senate seats for an eight-year term. 2. Background and principal issues: Inflation has been a key election issue for the past several years and now is the principal problem for conserva- tive President Jorge Alessandri, who was elected in 1958. Side issues in the campaign will include the new electoral law--which forbids party pacts in Cham- ber of Deputies and municipal elections--education, agrarian reform, and policy toward Cuba. The govern- ment's approval in December of a 15-percent wage in- crease and its success in holding the cost of living in 1960 to a 5.4-percent increase--the lowest in over a decade--may strengthen the candidacy of Alessandri sup- porters. Parties participating: A. Tending to support the conservative Alessandri administration: a. Conservative party: Party of land- owners and established business interests; has strong clerical sympathies. Pro-US. In coalition with the Lib- eral party, it supported Alessandri in the 1958 pres- idential elections, and was the third most popular party in the April 1960 municipal elections. Approved For Release 2001/08/(EeJtMP79S00427A000500010003-1 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 SECVRRYDS00427A000500010003-1 b. Liberal party: Conservative, well-financed party business and professional men, plus a segment of the large landowners. Or- ganized in the mid-19th century by Conservative dis- sidents who opposed the church-state alliance. Lais- sez faire in economics. Pro-US. Its adherents ran second in the April 1960 municipal elections. c. Christian Democratic part : Or- ganized in mid-1957 through an amalgamation of the Falangist and Social Christian Conservative parties, it represents primarily intellectuals, young middle- class professional elements, and some working groups. It derives its social attitudes from encyclicals of the Roman Catholic Church. Pro-US. Claims to pro- vide "constructive opposition" to the Alessandri gov- ernment. Fourth most popular party in April 1960 elections. d. Radical party: Historically a moderately leftist party supported principally by the lower and middle classes. It has cooperated generally with the incumbent administration; endorses government planning and control in all economic areas; favors re- establishment of commercial and cultural relations with the Communist bloc. Chile's most popular party in the April 1960 municipal elections. B. Tending to oppose the conservative Ales- sandri administration: a. Popular Action Front (FRAP): Organ- ized in February 195 , FRAP is a far-left coalition com- prising the Socialist, Communist, National Democratic, and National Vanguard of the People parties. Senatorial candidates can run under a FRAP pact, but party pacts are forbidden for the lower house elections. The March elec- tions will be first congressional test for the Communist party since it was legalized in 1958. The Socialist party, which usually follows the Communist line, is Chile's fifth most popular party and most militant political organiza- tion. The Communist party was the sixth most popular party in the April 1960 elections, polling 10 percent of the popular vote. Approved For Release 2001/08/0 jE79S00427A000500010003-1 Approved For Release 2001/08/08 : - PPS00427A000500010003-1 mss' 4. Present party strengths:* a. Parties advocating radical changes: Senate Chamber of Deputies Communist 0 6 Socialist 8 13 National Vanguard of the People** 0 3 National Democratic Party 8 11 b. Parties advocating moderate changes: Radical 9 36 Christian Democratic 3 22 c. Parties advocating minimal changes: Conservative 6 22 Liberal 9 34 Proportional representation electoral system is used in Chile. *Only eight major parties are listed, because re- cent mergers and defections have blurred the strength of less significant parties. **Former Labor party. Approved For Release 2001/08/OESOP 79S00427A000500010003-1 Approved For Release 2001/08/08CAW9S00427A000500010003-1 11W, IRW . Informed opinion on outcome: The Communists are expected to increase their congressional representa- tion at the expense of other leftist parties. Social- ists are not expected to gain any new seats. Moderate and conservative politicians--supporters of the economic stabilization program--may increase their dominance of the Chamber of Deputies. It is not expected that the Approved For Release 2001/08/EZP79S00427A000500010003-1 Approved For Release 2001/08/08j79S00427A 00500010003-1 NOW WW Radical-Conservative-Liberal control of the Senate will be threatened. The most important race is the Allende- Barros-Martinez contest in Valparaiso-Aconcagua District. A defeat could eliminate Allende from presidential con- sideration in 1964. 7. Significance for the US: An increase in representation for those parties supporting the eco- nomic stabilization would be favorable for US-Chilean relations, since these parties are usually friendlier toward the US. Furthermore, continued success of the economic program may reduce Chilean interest in press- ing for US financial aid and could counteract leftist influence to some extent. HUNTINGTON D. SHELDON Assistant Director Current Intelligence Orig: WEST DIV 25X1A Ext. 4527 Dist: CIA INTERNAL ONLY Approved For Release 2001/08/08sEe V9S00427A000500010003-1