DC Elders Denounce Frei “Fear Tactic”

(Oct. 8, 2009) Presidential candidate Sen. Eduardo Frei was subject of another round of criticism this week, this time from leadership within his own party.

Former President Patricio Aylwin and former Senator and Ambassador Gabriel Valdés criticized comments Frei made Monday against his rival, conservative businessman Sebastián Piñera. Both are considered to be elder statesmen of the Christian Democratic Party (DC).

“There would be serious social consequences if Piñera were to win the upcoming presidential election,” Frei said on a day that celebrated of the anniversary of the Oct. 5, 1988 national plebiscite that ended Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 17-years dictatorship. “The arrogance of the right that purports to run this country will bring us social conflicts and problems, because whenever they’ve run the country, they have only looked out for the interests of the minority.”

The comment drew backlash from across the political spectrum, including Aylwin and Valdés, both of whom support Frei’s bid for office.

“Chileans are free to choose. This is a democracy,” Aylwin said. “My candidate is Frei, I am from the Concertación, and I believe that it is better that the Concertación continues governing Chile, but I don’t think that it’s good to be so dramatic.”

Valdés also disagreed with the candidate’s comments. “They will both have problems in their eventual governments,” Valdés said. “It doesn’t seem fair for Frei to put the blame on someone else. Although I have my heart committed to the Christian Democrats, because I was a party founder, and I am very fond of Frei, I see the future as very difficult for whomever wins.”

“I was enthusiastic about the campaign of (Frei Montalva, Frei’s father), a leader that attracted people with what he said and his vision for Chile,” added Valdés. “Allende also had a vision for Chile. Now the candidates fight among themselves, and have lowered the standard a lot.”

Aylwin was elected president in 1990 after the end of the dictatorship. Frei followed, serving as president from 1994-2000.

Piñera also responded to Frei’s statement, saying, “Senator Frei, keep your bitterness to yourself, and your dirty campaign of terror, because Chileans don’t care about that kind of campaign,” he said.  “(Frei) wants to take us back to the same divisions and hatreds of the past.”

Piñera also received support independent presidential candidate Marco Enríquez-Ominami, who accused Frei of using dictatorship-era tactics and likened him to Pinochet.

By Daniel Zarchy ( editor@santiagotimes.clThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )

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