(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.
â€œThere would be serious social consequences if PiÃ±era were to win the upcoming presidential election,â€ Frei said on a day that celebrated of the anniversary of the Oct. 5, 1988 national plebiscite that ended Gen. Augusto Pinochetâ€™s 17-years dictatorship. â€œThe arrogance of the right that purports to run this country will bring us social conflicts and problems, because whenever theyâ€™ve run the country, they have only looked out for the interests of the minority.â€
The comment drew backlash from across the political spectrum, including Aylwin and ValdÃ©s, both of whom support Freiâ€™s bid for office.
â€œChileans are free to choose. This is a democracy,â€ Aylwin said. â€œMy candidate is Frei, I am from the ConcertaciÃ³n, and I believe that it is better that the ConcertaciÃ³n continues governing Chile, but I donâ€™t think that itâ€™s good to be so dramatic.â€
ValdÃ©s also disagreed with the candidateâ€™s comments. â€œThey will both have problems in their eventual governments,â€ ValdÃ©s said. â€œIt doesnâ€™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.â€
â€œI was enthusiastic about the campaign of (Frei Montalva, Freiâ€™s father), a leader that attracted people with what he said and his vision for Chile,â€ added ValdÃ©s. â€œAllende also had a vision for Chile. Now the candidates fight among themselves, and have lowered the standard a lot.â€
Aylwin was elected president in 1990 after the end of the dictatorship. Frei followed, serving as president from 1994-2000.
PiÃ±era also responded to Freiâ€™s statement, saying, â€œSenator Frei, keep your bitterness to yourself, and your dirty campaign of terror, because Chileans donâ€™t care about that kind of campaign,â€ he said.Â â€œ(Frei) wants to take us back to the same divisions and hatreds of the past.â€
PiÃ±era also received support independent presidential candidate Marco EnrÃquez-Ominami, who accused Frei of using dictatorship-era tactics and likened him to Pinochet.
SOURCES: EL MERCURIO, LA TERCERA, LA NACIÃ“N