Report By Argentine Press Is Untruthful, Says Independent Presidential Candidate
A week after Chileâ€™s presidential candidates traded blows in the first televised debate, independent candidate Marco EnrÃquez-Ominami (MEO) finds himself in another game of â€˜he-said, she-said.â€™
As part of a whirlwind tour of meetings with Latin American leaders, the independent candidate had dinner with Argentine political columnist Carlos Pagni of Argentinaâ€™s â€œLa NaciÃ³nâ€ newspaper early this week. During the dinner, as Pagni wrote for Tuesdayâ€™s issue, EnrÃquez-Ominami was asked whether his supporters would go to center-left candidate Sen. Eduardo Frei in the event that MEO did not make it to a second-round runoff vote mandated by Chilean election law.
â€œNot a chance,â€ MEO allegedly said. â€œIf Frei makes it to the second round, we will not support him.â€
But MEO, who is currently running third behind Frei and conservative businessman SebastiÃ¡n PiÃ±era, denied making the statement and called it a â€œmisunderstanding.â€
On his Twitter account (online micro-blogging community) Wednesday, MEO said he has not thought about the second round. â€œIâ€™ve never put myself in a scenario where Frei would be in the second (election) round,â€ he wrote.
MEO leveled accusations at both Frei and PiÃ±era in last weekâ€™s debate, saying they had not been thoroughly transparent in disclosing their campaign expenditures. Frei also accused PiÃ±era of using privileged information in the purchase of stock from LAN Airlines, of which PiÃ±era is the principal shareholder. PiÃ±era denied both claims, but appeared noticeably shaken at the debate.
All three candidates have been traveling out of the capital to reinforce their support in regions where the poll the weakest. Frei will be visiting the far north, where he enjoyed a healthy lead over PiÃ±era in June, but now trails in the polls 32.5 percent to 24.1 percent.
PiÃ±era will be spending the next few days supporting Senate and Deputy candidates from his coalition in ValparaÃso (Region V), located northwest of Santiago. His support in the area has fallen from 45 percent to just 30 percent, according to polls by the Center for Political Studies (CEP). Afterward, he will be traveling north to the Atacama (Region III) and Coquimbo (Region IV).
EnrÃquez-Ominamiâ€™s wife, TV host Karen Doggenweiler, will be touring southern Chile during her time off from Television Nacional TV station to promote her husbandâ€™s campaign.
SOURCES: EL MERCURIO