Boric names his third candidate for national prosecutor after Senate rejections

Chilean President Gabriel Boric has appointed lawyer Ángel Valencia to the post of national prosecutor for the next eight years, his third candidate in more than a month after the Senate rejected his two previous proposals.

Valencia, a lawyer from the University of Chile, worked as an adviser to the Aysén Regional Prosecutor’s Office (south) and as an assistant prosecutor in the Valparaíso (center) and South Metropolitan Prosecutor’s Offices between 2002 and 2006, reported the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.

"Since 2006, Mr. Valencia has worked in the free exercise of the legal profession, specializing in the litigation of criminal cases"added the official statement.

In Chile, the national prosecutor is appointed by the President of the Republic, who chooses one of the five candidates proposed by the Supreme Court and must be ratified by two thirds of the 50 votes of the Senate.

Since the creation of the Public Ministry in 2000 with the implementation of the criminal procedure reform, it is the first time that the Senate challenges candidates appointed by the president.

"This is not about who wins or who loses in the political sphere, this (the nomination) is a concern of the citizens and we hope it will progress"said the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Marcela Ríos, at a press conference minutes after the announcement.

José Morales Opazo, current deputy chief prosecutor of the Santiago Norte Local Prosecutor’s Office, did not obtain the two-thirds necessary to be ratified as national prosecutor on November 30.

Boric later nominated Marta Herrera, head of the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Public Ministry and who also did not receive the approval of the Upper House on December 19.

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The opposition accuses Boric of not seeking consensus in the Senate, where he does not have a majority, while the ruling party points to the right-wing senators from "appropriate" of a presidential power and wanting to influence too much in the choice of the new prosecutor.

"We cannot continue waiting, because it weakens the leadership capacity of an important state power in the prosecution of crime"said at a press conference in the morning the minister spokesperson for the Government, Camila Vallejo, who wished that "third time’s the charm".

The Public Ministry has been without a head since the end of last September when Jorge Abbott left office upon reaching the age limit of 75 years.

The appointment of a new national prosecutor coincides with an unprecedented crisis of insecurity, caused by the increase in organized crime and delinquency.

It also takes place in the midst of controversy over the granting of 12 presidential pardons to prisoners convicted of different crimes in the context of the social outbreak of October 2019 and to a former member of the armed group opposing the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front (FPMR) dictatorship.

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