Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Conflicts of interest plague Chilean Government

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President Sebastián Piñera’s recent appointment of Chilean scholar Leonidas Montes as the chairman on Televisión Nacional (the national TV network) generated strong criticism due to a possible conflict of interests. President Piñera is the owner of Chilevisión (Chile’s second-largest TV network) and has been reluctant to sell despite complaints coming from the opposition.

Several opposition congressmen, headed by  Ramón Farías from Partido por la Democracia,  argue that the president should comply with Chile’s law 22.285 of probity and transparency, which states that “every public officer must make a declaration of interests including all companies they participate in.” Among other actions, they have asked the general comptroller to review the case and are preparing either an acusación constitucional (an attribution of congress to investigate and remove government officials) or an investigative commission. The opposition also claims that the nomination of the National Television Council will raise these same issues.

The nomination was made public during President Piñera’s is first international trip. From Argentina the president responded “only ghosts and saints lack conflicts of interest.”  Government’s  spokeswoman Ena Von Baer also declared that the opposition is “following the wrong track and the government hopes that moderate voices prevail over extreme views in the opposition.”

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