Anti-Gay Marriage Candidate Quits Chile Presidential Race
The conservative coalition’s candidate in the Chilean presidential campaign has dropped out of the race because he suffers from depression, his son said Wednesday.
The surprise resignation by Pablo Longueira was expected to further weaken the chances for the governing conservatives to beat former President Michelle Bachelet of the Socialist Party, who is the front-runner for the Nov. 17 vote.
"Our father is sick," the son, Juan Pablo Longueira, said at a news conference. "After the primary election, and after taking some days of rest, his health deteriorated as a result of a bout of depression that was medically diagnosed."
Longueira, 55, is a former economy minister and one of the founding members of the conservative Independent Democratic Union that supported Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.
He entered the race three months ago when Laurence Golborne, a businessman who had been seen as the center-right’s best hope for holding on to power, was forced out by a financial scandal. Longueira, who supports free-market economic policies and opposes gay marriage and abortion, won a primary held last month by the center-right Alliance for Chile bloc to choose its candidate to replace conservative President Sebastian Pinera.
"We respect any decision taken by him," Patricio Melero, head of the Independent Democratic Union, said at news conference in the port city of Valparaiso.