Enríquez-Ominami To Vote For Frei In Run-Off Election In Chile

January 17, 2010 By Roque Planas

Chile’s independent presidential candidate Marco Enríquez-Ominami said Wednesday that he will vote for center-left Eduardo Frei of the governing Concertación coalition in Chile’s run-off election today, reports Spanish wire agency EFE.

The news could provide Frei with a much needed boost. He continues to trail center-right Sebastián Piñera in the polls. Piñera won the first round election on Dec. 13 with 44 percent of the vote, but came up shy of the simple majority needed to avoid a run-off.

A recent poll by the Chilean research group MORI put Piñera just barely ahead of Frei, at 51 percent to 49 percent, in a study with a 3 percent margin of error.

If Piñera wins it will be the first time the right has won an election since Jorge Alessandri in 1958, and the first time the Concertación has lost a presidential election since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1990.

Though Enríquez-Ominami ran to the left of the Concertación, an unknown portion of his supporters are expected to vote for Piñera. Political scientist and political commentarist Patricio Navia supported Enríquez-Ominami in the first round, but recently said he would support Piñera in an email whose contents was published in Chilean daily El Mercurio.

“In the end, the captain is more important than the crew,” wrote Navia. “And you are a better captain than Frei.”