Isabel Cocker/The Santiago Times
SANTIAGO – Chile’s candidate for next presidential term, Sebastián Piñera has denounced that in the first round of the elections, voting tables had “already marked” votes for Guillier and Sánchez – the former president’s top political opponents in November’s race.
The comments, made on the programme “Si yo fuera presidente” (If I were President) on the radio stations Futuro, Concierto, ADN and Rock&Pop, left no doubts that he was accusing the left-wing candidates and their supporters of rigging the election. “You yourself saw that many of the votes at the tables had been previously marked, and we saw that the entire day of the election,” he sustained.
He commented that “I don’t want to cast doubt over our electoral system, because it is part of the heritage of this country, and this would be the first time in democracy that this has occurred”.
Michelle Bachelet, the current President, responded on Twitter with a statement that questioned the remarks made by the candidate. She wrote that “Chile has won international acclaim for its correct and transparent elections. We should be responsible and not discredit our democratic institutions.”
Chile tiene un prestigio internacional por sus elecciones correctas y transparentes. Seamos responsables y no desacreditemos nuestras instituciones democráticas.
— Michelle Bachelet (@mbachelet) December 4, 2017
Piñera was quick to point out that he was not accusing Servel, the Electoral Service, of any wrongdoing. He stated that “this is not due to any mismanagement by Servel, it is that someone on the voting stations acted and marked the votes before the voter could mark their preference.”
Servel themselves have assured the public that they have not received any complaint or evidence that would suggest this happened during the voting on November 19th.
During the same interview, Piñera compared Alejandro Guillier – his direct political opponent in the second round of elections – to President Maduro in Venezuela. He commented that “when I see Alejandro turning so violent, in such a disqualifying way, he reminds me of Maduro”.
However, he stopped short of comparing the situation in Chile to that of Venezuela, saying that “I think that Chile won’t become like Venezuela, Chile is not Venezuela, and we Chileans don’t want Chile to become similar to Venezuela […] even if Alejandro Guillier wins.”