SANTIAGO, Chile — Eleven Chilean political parties, including former supporters of the military government of President Augusto Pinochet, launched a national campaign Monday to press for direct and free elections.
Only elections would permit Chile to escape from a crisis of rising political violence, the parties, which range from the non-communist left to the conservative right, said in a statement.
The call marked the anniversary of the so-called National Accord, in which all but one of the same parties backing Monday's move pledged support for a series of principles to bring peaceful transition to democracy. The accord was heralded at the time as significant because of the wide backing it drew from across the political spectrum.
Sponsored by the archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Juan Francisco Fresno, its proposals included calling a national congress, bringing an end to the state of emergency which has existed on and off since 1978 and holding presidential elections.