Popular Action Front

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Popular Action Front

A left-wing political alliance, the Popular Action Front was formed in 1956. The coalition was composed of Socialists, Popular Socialists, the Laborites, the People's Democratic and Democratic parties, as well as the outlawed Communists. The FRAP represented the first time that the Socialists and Communists, who were permitted to return to public life in 1958, formed a cohesive unit. FRAP's 1958 presidential candidate, Salvador Allende Gossens, called for the empowerment of workers, nationalization of the country's basic industries and financial institutions, agrarian reform, and the adoption of a neutralist, if not overtly anti-American, foreign policy.

Though Allende lost to Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez, the Conservative candidate, the FRAP's popularity increased. Because of changes in the electoral law, the coalition did well in predominantly agricultural districts. Thus the FRAP won 31 percent of the popular vote in the 1961 congressional contest, virtually doubling its seats in the Chamber of Deputies while increasing, by 50 percent, its power in the Senate; three years later FRAP won almost 40 percent of the vote.

In 1964, the FRAP again nominated Allende, who advocated extending suffrage, increasing social benefits, and calling for the state to take a more active role in developing the economy. Eduardo Frei Montalvo, the Christian Democratic candidate, easily defeated Allende, who lost the heavily populated cities of Santiago and Valparaíso as well as the rural areas. Although the FRAP was dissolved in 1969, it constituted the first movement that successfully welded Chile's Marxist parties into a formidable political bloc.

See alsoAllende Gossens, Salvador .


Gil, Federico G. The Political System of Chile (1966), pp. 204-205, 229-243, 276-277, 299-307.

Ibáñez Santa María, Adolfo. Abrazado por la revolución: Ideología y totalitarismo en Chile 1960–1973. Santiago: Editorial Biblioteca Americana, 2004.

Petras, James. Politics and Social Forces in Chilean Development (1969), pp. 174-196, 209, 245-246, 262, 266-269, 276-283.

Scully, Timothy. Rethinking the Center: Party Politics in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century Chile. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992.

                                        William F. Sater

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