Chilean govt dismisses alleged election irregularity

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-11-26 9:14:56

The Chilean government on Monday rejected allegations of irregularity in November 17 general elections, which involved the possible fraudulent registration of supporters for two independent candidates who had lost.

"We don't question the election, because everybody knows there are agencies and time limits for disputing candidacies, and that did not happen in the case of the two said candidates," said government spokeswoman Cecilia Perez.

The election results "cannot be challenged, there are no reasons to do so," Perez said, adding any complaint should have been presented to the Electoral Tribunal (Tricel) earlier.

A press report over the weekend questioned whether independent candidates Franco Parisi and Tomas Jocelyn Holt, who obtained 10 percent and 0.16 percent of the votes, respectively, obtained the minimum 35,000 signatures they needed to run.

Nine candidates in all participated in the presidential race, including the winner of the first round of polling, center-left opposition candidate and former president Michelle Bachelet, who obtained 46 percent of the votes, and ruling party candidate and runner-up Evelyn Matthei, who gained 25 percent of the votes. A runoff vote between the two is scheduled for December 15.

Also on Monday, Chile's Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into the alleged irregularities, confirming that agents are looking into two notaries public charged with validating the signatures of supporters for the two candidates.

Jocelyn-Holt, the candidate with the least number of votes in Chilean election history, claimed "our signatures are valid and the only way to dispute that is to prove they are false, not through a news article."

Meanwhile, the two leading candidates stepped up their campaigns with just 21 days to go before the runoff, especially Matthei, who needs to drum up at least 20 percent more support to snatch the presidency away from Bachelet.

According to Mauricio Morales, director of Chile's Political Electoral Watch, "the only way Matthei can garner more votes in the second round is more people go out to vote."

Nearly seven million of Chile's 13.5 million eligible voters participated in the November round, and fewer are expected at the runoff in December.

Posted in: Americas

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