Chile's Progressive Party (PRO) leader Marco Enríquez Ominami Monday announced he would run for the country's presidency, which dealt an unexpected blow to the centre-left's efforts following the launch of Christian Democrat Yasna Provoste's candidacy Saturday.
With this scenario, voters will have a split menu of like-minded candidates in the November 21 presidential elections, which analysts foresee would strengthen the chances of any other contender from a different part of the political spectrum.
It will be Omninami's fourth attempt to reach La Moneda. “We are in a different moment in our history, in a moment of hope, of a people that believes and wants a radical change, but in peace, he said as he warned of the “common threat” facing the country: rightwing hopeful “Sebastián Sichel, and his boss, Sebastián Piñera, who is the true candidate.”
Omninami claimed “both of them seek to discredit, block the Constitutional Convention; as I said, our only hope of social justice, of more justice, for Chileans who are economically “poorer than before” the pandemic. He also insisted on the need to create jobs urgently, to reactivate the economy, and to guarantee more rights in the medium term, and to create a different development model in the long term.
The filmmaker, also known as ME-O, launched his candidacy after the Constitutional Court restored his political rights, which he had been stripped of after being accused of fraud when submitting his electoral expenses returns in 2013.
In recent years he has kept a low profile, especially after he was linked to the Odebrecht case. His greatest notoriety was obtained after it became known that he was advising Argentine President Alberto Fernández.
Provoste was angered at Omninami's decision after she had excluded herself from the referendum, and said the new candidacy will grant “an undeserved subsidy to the right.”
Senator Provoste, a former Education Minister under President Michelle Bachelet, is a woman of Diaguita descent and will run on behalf of the political bloc called the Constituent Unit (UC) made up of the Socialist Party (PS), the Party for Democracy (PPD), the Radical Party (PR), the Liberal Party (PL) and the New Deal movement.
The Diaguitas are a group of native peoples who speak a common language, Cacán. They were located in the current northwest of Argentina -especially in the Calchaquíes valleys- and in northern Chile
Provoste Saturday won the bloc's primary elections where 150,000 Chileans picked their candidates, a number way below the July 18 primary elections within other political forces, in which Broad Front (FA) Deputy Gabriel Boric, and Sichel triumphed.
During her political career, Provoste has defended her Diaguita roots and the fact that she is a woman. The stage in which the Senate of the Republic is presided over by a woman of Diaguita descent is inaugurated. I assume this duty as what I am: woman, teacher, mother and wife, humanist and Christian, born in Vallenar, Diaguita descendant and daughter of a middle-class working family, she had said.
Omninami's 2009 candidacy was deemed to be a decisive factor when Piñera prevailed over former President Eduardo Frei.