Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez


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(19 May 1896, d. 31 Aug. 1986).

President of Chile 1958–64 Son of Arturo Alessandri, he entered politics when his father was President. He worked as an engineer during the 1930s and was Minister of Finance (1948–50). Alessandri won the 1958 presidential elections by a narrow margin against Allende and Frei, with only 31.6 per cent of the vote. Despite his personal popularity, he proved unable to bridge the social divisions within Chilean society. His orthodox liberal economic policies had some success, notably in bringing inflation down from over 25 per cent in 1958 to 8 per cent in 1961. Nevertheless, a growing trade deficit caused suspicions among foreign investors and a withdrawal of much-needed capital. He also failed to address the problem of urban poverty owing to continuing migration from the land to the cities. He did not stand for re-election in 1964, and in 1970 was narrowly defeated by Allende.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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