The legal representative of far-right presidential candidate Javier Milei’s La Libertad Avanza (LLA) coalition toned down claims the military police manipulated October’s elections in testimony before Argentina’s Electoral Prosecutor’s Office on Friday.
Santiago Viola, who represents LLA before the Argentine judiciary, had written in a court filing earlier this week that there was “colossal fraud” in October’s elections.
However, while testifying on Friday, Viola claimed the document he had filed “was not a [criminal] complaint, but a presentation made with the purpose of ensuring the utmost care in the transfer of ballot boxes in view of the second round to be held on November 19.”
The Argentine gendarmería (military police) are in charge of security operations and logistics on election day.
Viola added that the presentation was based on social media comments, news articles, and testimonies he personally had collected.
He provided no further evidence to electoral prosecutor Ramiro González, and stressed that they were not reporting the military police for any alleged crimes. “We trust that they will be extremely careful in the face of November 19 and we hope that the elections will take place normally,” he said.
Santiago Viola presented the document together with Karina Milei, Javier’s sister and campaign manager, to electoral judge María Servini on Tuesday. The filing, which does not constitute a criminal complaint, accused Argentina’s military police of tampering with the vote count in October’s elections. It was based on what Viola and Karina claimed were witnesses who wished to remain anonymous for “security reasons.”
After they presented the document, electoral prosecutor Ramiro González summoned Viola and Milei to the National Electoral Prosecutor’s Office to give further information. Karina did not attend because she was returning from LLA’s campaign closing event in Córdoba, according to Viola.
Viola told the Herald that he had provided one news story and two X (formerly Twitter) posts as evidence to support his claim. One of the posts Viola presented accused the military police of tampering with the vote in Santiago del Estero. The anonymous X user incorrectly claimed that Massa got 80% of the vote in the province — the true figure was 64% — and included a link to an unrelated story involving a corruption scandal in the military police.
He also admitted he possessed no photographic evidence of gendarmes manipulating votes, although he said he had “credible inside sources” in the military police.
On Thursday, Javier Milei’s running mate Victoria Villarruel said in an interview with TV channel TN that the coalition knows that “the men from gendarmería support LLA and they perform their task with dedication.”
Asked if she thought such an accusation should be made without providing evidence, Villaruel said that “the people who made the presentation should answer that.”
“I am not a legal representative of LLA, and I don’t want this to be used to cast doubt over the gendarmes,” she said. “I guess they will provide the evidence eventually.”
She also claimed that there were “irregularities” in every election.
Before and after the elections, Milei, as well as some of his supporters and social media accounts linked to him, have made unfounded claims of electoral fraud. Authorities have contested those remarks, showing there is no evidence of foul play.