SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's conservative UDI party said on Saturday it has picked Labor Minister Evelyn Matthei as its candidate in the November presidential election, which is expected to see former president Michelle Bachelet triumph.
Matthei steps in after the right-wing's former candidate Pablo Longueira unexpectedly quit the campaign on Wednesday due to depression, sending the already weakened bloc into disarray. Longueira had launched his campaign after the right's former favorite Laurence Golborne dropped his bid in April due to a scandal from his time as chief executive officer of retailer Cencosud.
Matthei, an economist known for her blunt style, is a seasoned member of the conservative Union Democrata Independiente (UDI) party.
It remains unclear whether the center-right Renovacion Nacional (RN) party will rally behind Matthei or send its own candidate into the general election, threatening to further weaken the right-wing Alianza coalition.
Conservative Chile has never had two female presidential front runners.
(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer; editing by Jackie Frank)
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