In This Review

The New Right in Chile, 1973-97
The New Right in Chile, 1973-97
By Marcelo Pollack
St. Martin's, 1999, 214 pp
Purchase

A timely book in light of the Chilean right's strong second-place finish in the recent presidential elections. Pollack argues that the Pinochet regime's unique combination of neoliberal economics with social and political reforms prompted Chile's most conservative sectors to embrace the market, which ultimately led to the right's realignment after the return of civilian rule. By the 1980s, two wings within this "new right" had emerged: the Union Democrata Independiente (UDI), the principal supporters of the regime, and the Renovacion Nacional (RN), which sought to modernize by distancing itself from Pinochet's legacy and moving toward European-style conservatism. In the process, the RN created the most efficient party structure in Chile, later establishing contacts with American, British, and German conservatives. In contrast, the hierarchical and more ideological udi leadership has remained loyal to the military regime's legacy while attempting an appeal to the urban working class. Ironically, the 1998 arrest of Pinochet in London on a Spanish warrant brought both wings together in his defense, ultimately joining forces in the tight presidential race under the leadership of the udi's Joaquin Lav'n. An invaluable delineation of the new forces in Chilean politics in the post-Pinochet era.