SANTIAGO – A Chilean senator seeking another term in the Nov. 19 election was beaten and stabbed on Wednesday inside a campaign office in the northern city of Iquique.
Sen. Fulvio Rossi remained hospitalized in serious condition, but his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening, his aides said.
The lawmaker was accosted by one or two assailants who walked into the campaign office, struck him on the head with a blunt object and stabbed him in the abdomen, according to preliminary accounts.
News of the assault spurred condemnation from across Chile’s political spectrum.
“We must, among ourselves, ensure that the political debate always takes place from a starting point of respect,” center-left President Michelle Bachelet said on Twitter. “Chile does not deserve this violence!”
“It’s not acceptable that one is stabbed in the street,” said Alejandro Guillier, the ruling party candidate to succeed Bachelet.
“All of my solidarity with Sen. Rossi,” Guillier tweeted.
The favorite to win the presidency, rightist former head of state Sebastian Piñera, also reacted on Twitter.
“I just finished talking with Sen. Fulvio Rossi, victim of a cowardly and despicable attack,” Piñera wrote.
Franco Rossi, the senator’s son, said the attackers told his father, “we warned you,” apparently referring to threats that the lawmaker reported receiving last month.
At the time of the reported threats, campaign official Paula Afani said that the lawmaker declined an offer of police protection.
Political figures including Tarapaca regional Gov. Claudia Rojas and leftist presidential hopeful Beatriz Sanchez, who was campaigning on Wednesday in Iquique, came to the hospital to see Rossi.
Rossi, a physician by profession who left the Socialist Party after being caught up in a campaign finance scandal, is seeking re-election as an independent.