The presidential candidate for the Polo Democratico party, Gustavo Petro, announced Wednesday that members of his party have sought “help” with their campaigns from Venezuelan officials, reported Colombian media.
In an interview with Caracol radio Petro said that videos exist showing members of Polo Democratico, who have not been identified, requesting the assistance of local authorities in regions of Venezuela close to the Colombian border.
Petro claimed, however, that the Polo Democratico officials were not seeking funding for their campaigns, but rather the votes of those citizens living on the border who have dual nationality.
The presidential candidate criticized the actions of his party’s officials, calling them “irresponsible” and emphasizing the importance of “the sovereignty of the country.”
“I have to criticize the prioritization of pursuing votes over Colombian sovereignty,” said Petro.
National Electoral Council chairman, Marco Hincapie, said Thursday that the council would investigate the claims made by the Polo Democratico candidate.
Petro’s statement follows an announcement by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Wednesday that he has evidence that a “foreign government” planted a candidate in Colombia in order to “strain conditions” during the upcoming elections.
Colombia’s National Electoral Commission responded to the president’s claims, stating that any election candidates found to have been financed by foreign countries would face penalties ranging from losing the money invested to losing their permit to run in the elections.
Colombia’s congressional elections will take place on Sunday, March 14, and the presidential elections will take place in May this year.