Pablo Longueira Named New UDI Presidential Candidate
Golborne steps down as financial scandal erupts.
SANTIAGO — Pablo Longueira has stepped forward as the new presidential candidate for the Independent Democratic Union (UDI) on the back of Laurence Golborne’s resignation and just six months before Chile’s November presidential elections.
Longueira, a former entrepreneur, has served as Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism of Chile since 2011.
Golborne resigned because of questions raised about his business profile. Last week the Chile supreme court fined Censocud US$70-million for raising credit card fees without consent, and this occurred during Goborne’s tenure as CEO of the retail giant.
Golborne’s reputation also took a knock amid reports that he failed to declare an offshore account held on the British Virgin Islands, considered a fiscal paradise and tax haven.
Golborne rose to great popularity as Minister of Mining in 2010, when 33 miners were trapped underground in the Atacama desert and became a news story that gripped the world’s attention. He is hailed as the leader of the effort to rescue these men.
“I want to be clear: I don’t want to be an obstacle to any decision,” Golborne told reporters today. “As of this moment I step down from my candidacy in all forms for this nomination. Decide freely what is best for the country.”
Co-founder of the UDI, Claudia Torres, said Longueira as a presidential choice “embodies the ideas, strength and love of the country.”
Analysts predict that this late-stage candidacy change will hurt the UDI’s chances of leading the country after November’s elections, especially faced by the popularity of former president Michelle Bachelet.