The program presented by conservative presidential candidate Sebastian Piñera was under fire in recent days, as several ministers from President Michelle Bachelet's cabinet pointed to at least 20 measures in the program had already been approved or carried out during the current administration.
Chile Heads to the Polls Amid Discontent
Among them, were the improvement of Santiago's airport, the tunnel El Melon, the construction works of Americo Vespucio Oriente and the reservoir Empedrado, said Minister of Public Works Alberto Undurraga on Twitter.
“Presenting as innovations works that have been approved or already carried out and today in use seems to us inappropriate,” said government's spokesperson Paula Narváez.
“It is inappropriate for a presidential candidate not to know in details (his program), or to lack the decency of being honest when he communicates on this — what we call "the continuity of the State" in relation to public works — so people are aware of the origin of the works.”
Insólito programa d @sebastianpinera -21 obras empezadas y/o licitadas en nuestro Gobierno -lo invito a no esconder origen y decir la verdad pic.twitter.com/0MmueAO1jn— Alberto Undurraga V (@aundurragav) October 30, 2017
Minister of Social Development Marcos Barraza also spoke out against Piñera's program, saying it was “trying to appropriate ideas belonging to (the government's coalition) New Majority, which are being carried out.”
“In Chile, poverty and inequality are issues that need to be addressed constantly but with genuine ideas,” he added.
Other state officials condemned the move, including Tax Minister Nicolas Eyzaguirre and Santiago's governor Claudio Orrego.
As a response, Piñera declared that the criticisms “reflected either a lot of ignorance or bad intentions because projects of public works are taken over from one administration to another.”
Chileans head to the polls to elect a successor to Michelle Bachelet, who completes her second, non-consecutive term as president of the South American nation.
Among the presidential candidates are Alejandro Guillier, a left-wing independent, supported by most of the political parties currently in power, Beatriz Sanchez of the leftist Broad Front, Carolina Goic of the conservative Christian Democracy Party and Jose Antonio Kast, a far-right independent.
Since the military dictatorship ended in 1990, the country's center-left parties have won the past four elections. The right wing and centrists only won once, when Piñera received a majority of votes in 2010.
The campaign is set to end on Nov. 16.
Predicting electoral results in Chile is difficult since roughly 60 percent of people who can vote don’t participate in elections.
One of the main issues that will dominate this election will be the possibility of calling for a constituent assembly to change the Constitution, which was created in 1980 and approved in 1981 under the military regime of Augusto Pinochet.