Chilean presidential hopeful bows out citing depression

Chilean presidential hopeful bows out citing depressionSantiago, July 18 - Pablo Longueira, the governing right-wing coalition's candidate in Chile's November presidential election, is withdrawing from the race due to depression, his son announced Wednesday.

"Out of his responsibility to Chile, to his political alliance and to his party, our father presented today his renunciation of his presidential candidacy," Juan Pablo Longueira said during a press conference at the Santiago headquarters of the UDI party.

Longueira's previously diagnosed depression has worsened in recent days to the point where he cannot remain in the contest, his son said.

Pablo Longueira narrowly won the ruling coalition's June 30 presidential primary over Andres Allamand, standard-bearer of the RN party.

President Sebastian PiƱera, who is barred from seeking a second consecutive term, was given advance notice of Longueira's decision, which took the Chilean political class by surprise.

UDI directors will meet Thursday to consider possible replacements for Longueira, party chairman Patricio Melero said.

The center-left opposition alliance has selected popular former President Michelle Bachelet, who governed Chile from 2006-10, as its candidate in the November election. (IANS)

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