The Chilean head of the Organization of American States has withdrawn from his country's presidential race.

OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza made the announcement Monday during a news conference in the Chilean capital, Santiago. Insulza said he would support former President Eduardo Frei, who held power from 1994 to 2000.

Both Mr. Frei and Insulza are members of the ruling center-left coalition.

Insulza's decision comes after a recent poll showed him lagging behind Mr. Frei before a presidential primary scheduled for April. Mr. Frei will face Jose Antonio Gomez, a Social Democrat, in that primary.

Whoever becomes the coalition's candidate will face businessman and conservative opposition candidate Sebastian Pinera in the presidential elections scheduled for December.

Insulza held various positions during the Frei administration, including that of foreign affairs minister. Insulza also served as interior minister during the 2000 to 2006 administration of President Ricardo Lagos.

The OAS chief has been in his current position since May 2005. 

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.