Columbia electoral commission begins probe into president Duque 2018 campaign

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The Republic of Columbia’s electoral commission has announced the commencement of a preliminary investigation into the 2018 election campaign of the President, Ivan Duque Marquez, including his campaign manager, and president’s governing party for violating electoral law that prohibited foreign financial donation.

While disclosing this on Tuesday August 11, 2020, the commission said it has launched “a preliminary investigation against the then-candidate and current president of the Republic of Colombia, Ivan Duque Marquez, campaign manager Luis Guillermo Echeverri Velez and the Democratic Center party for alleged violation of electoral regulations for financing political campaigns.”

According to the commission, if the president and his party are found guilty of the allegation in the course of the ongoing investigation, the president could lose validity of his presidency, and the party could as well lose its legal status of fielding candidates in elections.

The investigation is looking into the alleged $300,000 financial support given to the President Ivan Duque by Oswaldo Cisneros, a business in Venezuelan, during the 2018 election campaign.

The commission has so far obtained as a piece of evidence, intercepted phone calls put through to Nubia Stella Martinez, the director of the Democratic Center.

According to the commission, to determine the source and amount of the financial support for the said campaign, Democratic Center would have to submit the President’s then accounts of the campaign to the commission.

Similarly, Guillermo Echeverri and Stella Martinez would be required to testify to the account details to be reviewed.

However, the Democratic Center said that it has managed election campaign finances according to the stipulated electoral law exercising strict donor controls. The center said it would deliver its accounting reports for proof.

The investigation into the alleged 2018 campaign financial support for the then presidential candidate, now the country’s President, Duque Marquez, could add to the list of worries for the president who had had to cope with the low approval rating for his term.

This is coming amid social and economic crisis occasioned by the pandemic coupled with the house arrest of the head of the Democratic Center, Alvaro Urib, who also doubled as President Duque’s political mentor.

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