Patricio Aylwin

From Academic Kids

Patricio Aylwin Azócar (born November 26, 1918) was the president of Chile after its return to democratic rule in 1990, following the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

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Patricio Aylwin Azócar
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Patricio Aylwin Azócar

Term of office: March 11, 1990March 11 1994
Preceded by: Augusto Pinochet
Succeeded by: Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle
Date of birth: November 26, 1918
Place of birth: Viña del Mar, Chile
First Lady: Leonor Oyarzún Ivanovic
Political party: Christian Democrat

Early life

Aylwin was born in Viña del Mar, Chile to Miguel Aylwin and Laura Azócar, the eldest of five children. An excellent student, he enrolled in the Law School of the University of Chile where he became a lawyer, with the highest distinction, in 1943. He served as professor of administrative law, first at the University of Chile and then also at the Catholic University of Chile. He was also professor of civic education and political economy at the National Institute.

Patricio Aylwin is married to Leonor Oyarzún Ivanovic. They have five children and 14 grandchildren.

Political career

Patricio Aylwin’s involvement in politics started in 1945, when he joined the Falange Nacional. Later on he was elected president of the Falange and when that party became the Christian Democrats, he served seven terms as its president between 1958 and 1989.

In 1965 he was elected to the National Congress as senator. In 1971, he became the president of the Senate. During the government of Popular Unity, headed by Salvador Allende, he was also the president of his party, and he led the democratic opposition to Allende within and without Congress. He is credited, in some measure, with trying to find a peaceful solution to the country’s political crisis. Nonetheless, in 1973, only a week before the Chilean coup of 1973, he signed a congressional act asking the military to "help reestablish the rule of law". This document, little noticed at the time, was later used as the main excuse for the upraising of the normally apolitical Chilean military.

Patricio Aylwin, was president of the Christian Democrats until 1976, and after the death of the natural leader of the party, Eduardo Frei Montalva, in 1982, he led his party during one of the most difficult eras in Chilean history. Later he helped establish the "Constitutional Studies Group of 24" to reunite the country’s democratic sectors against the dictatorship. In 1979 he served as a spokesman in the group that opposed the plebiscite that approved a new constitution.

In 1982 Patricio Aylwin was elected vice president of the Christian Democrats. He was among the first to advocate acceptance of the constitution as a reality in order to facilitate the return to democracy. The opposition eventually met the legal standards imposed by the Pinochet regime and participated in the 1988 plebiscite.

In October 1988, Chileans voted in a presidential referendum to end General Pinochet's bid for 8 more years as president. Patricio Aylwin was at the center of the movement that defeated General Pinochet.

After the plebiscite, he participated in negotiations that led the government and the opposition to agree on 54 constitutional reforms, thereby making possible a peaceful transition from 16 years of dictatorship to democracy.


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Patricio Aylwin

Patricio Aylwin was elected president of the Republic on December 14, 1989.

He led the reconstruction of Chile and the reconciliation of its peoples. Since leaving office in 1994, he has continued his lifelong commitment to promoting justice. In 1995, he was the catalyst for a United Nations summit on poverty. He is now president of the Corporation for Democracy and Justice, a non-profit organization he founded to develop approaches to eliminating poverty and to strengthen ethical values in politics.

Patricio Aylwin has received the Doctor Honoris Causa degree from universities in Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Spain, and the United States and from seven Chilean universities. In 1997 the Council of Europe awarded the North-South Prize to Patricio Aylwin and to Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, for their contributions to fostering human rights, democracy, and cooperation between Europe and Latin America.

Preceded by:
Augusto Pinochet
(military dictator)
President of Chile
Succeeded by:
Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle

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External links

  • Official Biography ( (in Spanish)de:Patricio Aylwin

es:Patricio Aylwin no:Patricio Aylwin


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