NATIONAL POLITICS

Congressional fight turns physical

Republican Party Congressman Gonzalo de la Carrera punched Radical Party Congressman Alexis Sepúlveda in the face. The action was condemned by politicians and the public alike. De la Carrera’s own party even disowned him.

Things got heated in Congress on Aug. 30. At the end of a special discussion about drug trafficking, Republican Party representative Gonzalo de la Carrera hit Radical Party representative Alexis Sepúlveda in the face, after a verbal discussion with Congresswoman Marcela Riquelme.

As Radio Universidad de Chile reports, it all started when, in his final speech, de la Carrera said goodbye to Interior Minister Izkia Siches, alluding to a rumored cabinet change after the Sept. 4 constitutional plebiscite. In response, the opposition immediately asked for sanctions.

De la Carrera then approached the President of the Lower House Raúl Soto and said, “There are stupid women that arrive late and are calling for attention.” Riquelme then confronted him for calling her stupid and then Sepúlveda intervened, asking de la Carrera, “Why so violent?” De la Carrera then answered with the punch.

Congress published the video, and it quickly went viral, as people from every corner of the political spectrum disavowed the violence. The Republican Party even decided to sack him from their stand. Hours later, de la Carrera released a backhanded statement apologizing for his actions: “I recognize that I made a serious mistake when I reacted that way to defend myself from the verbal and physical aggressions from Congressmember Sepúlveda.”

The day after

By Aug. 31, de la Carrera seemed to have moved on from regret. In an interview with “Tu Día”, he declared the whole thing was a “set-up,” that he was provoked by Congressmembers the whole week, and that Sepúlveda was also physical with him. On the Republican Party’s decision to disown him, he said that he was “left alone, just as Jesus Christ was.”

That same day, members of the Communist, Humanist Action, and Humanist Parties filed an official complaint with Valparaíso regional prosecutor’s office. The Chile Vamos coalition also referred de la Carrera to Congress’s Ethics Commission, asking for the “highest sanction possible” in a statement signed by Andrés Longton (RN), Francisco Undurraga (Evópoli), and Jorge Alessandri (UDI).

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