President Gen. Augusto Pinochet, seeking voter ratification of a new eight-year term, asked Chileans to forgive him "if I've done something wrong" since he seized power in 1973.

In an interview televised nationwide on all channels, Pinochet on Thursday night urged voters to "think of Chile" when they go to the polls Oct. 5 to vote in a referendum on his presidency.At the conclusion of the 15-minute appearance he said: "If I've done something wrong, forgive me. But I think that, overall, I have more in my favor than against me."

The 72-year-old army commander rarely admits to wrong actions, and is more prone to laud the accomplishments of his right-wing, authoritarian government in public speeches and appearances.

But most opinion polls show him lagging behind the opposition in voter support, and the admission appeared an attempt to win the backing of moderate voters offended by his harsh rule. His government repeatedly has been criticized by local and international organizations for human rights abuse and restricting civil liberties.