Chile: Concertacion split?

At the 2005 Chilean presidential and congressional elections, I noted the unique (as far as I know) feature of a multiparty alliance having separate presidential candidates despite joint congressional lists on the same day. In that case, the alliance with the odd pattern was the right-wing Alianza.

But maybe they were just setting a trend. Even as the Concertacion, the ruling alliance of the Christian Democrats, Socialists, and other center-left parties, has selected its presidential candidate (Christian Democrat and ex-president Eduardo Frei) and is geting ready to form its congressional lists, a Socialist is collecting signatures for a possible “independent” first-round presidential bid. Greg Weeks has the details.

One thought on “Chile: Concertacion split?

  1. Ceteris paribus, all indicates that ruling coalition in Chile will be drive out from Government. In that case, Chile would be the last country in changing government in Latin America after the wave of democratic recoveries in the region.

    According to recent and several polls, right-alliance (Coalición por el Cambio, formerly known as Alianza por Chile)’s candidate Sebastián Piñera has maintained at top of the preferences always. In the back there is a intensive strugle between Concertación’s candidate and former President Eduardo Frei, and the independent Marco Enríquez-Ominami. Enríquez-Ominami (aka ME-O for the media) resigned to his affiliation to Socialist Party to run for the Presidency, since Socialist Party is officially supporting Frei.
    Frei is Senator, and ME-O Deputy of the Chilean Congress.

    Elections will hold in December, and it’s a fact that there will be a ballotage in January.
    The question is: Frei or ME-O will pass to the run-off? If Frei is, will ME-O support him and with what platform (there is not any party behind him)? If ME-O pass, there is no doubt that Concertación will try to survive by joining to ME-O’s candidature (of course, parties’ directives will have to resign for their failure).

    As far as we can anticipate, it’s more likely that Frei could pass to the run-off for at least three reasons: 1) ME-O should need more time for campaigning than he has; 2) Government machina is operating broader and explicitly in favour of Frei (including a polemic pictures that showed popular minister of Finance Andrés Velasco working on the manifesto of Frei); and 3) polls underrepresent rural voters, who would support a well-known candidate like Frei rather than a young one like ME-O.

    Anyway, it seems that between Frei and ME-O there will be a kind of selfdestroy center-left axis. That would be similar in a way of what happened in 2005 election between the two candidates of right alliance: too many “injured people” in the path, or friendly fire, which is counterproductive for the coalition’s objectives. Like then, the third in dispute could obtain the main gain, the Presidency.

    What do you think, Matt?

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