Former Chilean President Eduardo Frei was chosen Saturday by the Christian Democrat Party (PDC) as its presidential candidate for the December 2009 elections, for which he will first have to face other hopefuls from the centre-left coalition in the April primaries.
The national board of the PDC elected Frei as its choice for presidential candidate after Senator Soledad Alvear, a former coalition candidate, asked her fellow party members to nominate unanimously the man who was president of Chile in 1994-2000. "I solemnly ask you to make Eduardo Frei the red arrow that carries us to re-conquer the heart" of the people, the senator said in reference to the Christian Democrat emblem. Immediately afterwards the acting president of the party, lawmaker Jorge Burgos, called for a vote of those present, to elect Frei as their choice for candidate. Frei will compete in the primaries on April 26 with hopefuls from the other political parties that make up Concertacion, the centre-left ruling coalition, made up of Socialists, Radicals and the Party for Democracy (PPD). Also expected to run in these primaries will be the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, who is backed by the Socialist Party (PS). Insulza, who was foreign minister and secretary general of the presidency during the Frei administration, met this week in Santiago with leaders of the "progressive" sector of Concertacion to win their support, but was unsuccessful in the attempt. The Party for Democracy (PPD), after ex-President Ricardo Lagos (2000-2006) declined to be its candidate, said it was in a moment of reflection and did not discard the possibility of choosing another candidate from its ranks. For its part, the Social Democrat Radical Party (PRSD) continued to back its leader, Senator Jose Antonio Gomez, as its choice for presidential candidate. On Friday the leadership of the Conservative opposition Independent Democratic Union (UDI), the main political party of the right, gave its official support to the presidential candidate of National Renovation (RN), businessman Sebastian Piñera, as candidate for the Alliance for Chile. This proposal by the leadership of the UDI will be ratified in the party's General Council next April, which would assure Piñera of the support of the Alliance for Chile, a coalition that won the mayoralties in most of the country's main cities in the recent municipal elections.