- (Photo: Reuters)
Chilean presidential candidate, Evelyn Matthei, recently met with evangelicals to discuss her biblically conservative agenda, which she vows to maintain if elected president during the nation's Dec. 15 election.
"I pledge to continue with the future of our government and God willing if I get there, nothing will be done that goes against what the Bible says," said Matthei, during her speech, according to her campaign website. "Marriage is between a man and a woman, and life is cared for from the moment of conception until natural death. No to abortion, no to euthanasia. That is a commitment I make before you."
Following her meeting with the group of 3,000 people that gathered to celebrate 100 years of the Evangelical church establishing its presence in Chile, Matthei reportedly met with pastors to make a confession of faith as shown in a YouTube video going viral of her repeating the Sinner's Prayer.
The authenticity off her decision to accept Christ has been questioned by Chileans on social media, who assume she is professing her faith in an effort to win the majority of evangelical votes.
"I really hope it's true that a woman like her, being so hard, is making this truthful gesture, not just for votes but for her sake and a real change in her life," wrote a YouTube viewer. "I hope she is no longer a rough and coarse woman, but a kind woman who changed her life for God."
Similar speculation continues to make rounds on the internet regarding her intentions as she garnered only 25 percent of votes during the first round of elections on Nov. 17. Her opponent and former first female Chilean President and childhood friend, socialist Michelle Bachelet, won 46 percent of the votes, but not enough to win outright as Chile's constitution requires a candidate to secure over 50 percent of the votes.
Next month, the socially conservative nation will hold a runoff election that will determine if Bachelet becomes the first Chilean leader in over half a century to serve a second term in office.
Matthei, who served under current President Sebastián Piñera as Minister of Labor and Social Security, is proposing to maintain the country's conservative government, she pledges to continue the business-friendly policies of the current administration and fund government programs with income from Chile's booming economic growth, not by raising taxes. On the contrary, Bachelet plans to legalize abortion in some cases, launch a national debate on gay marriage, has proposed a $15 billion spending program and plans to increase taxes to pay for educational reform.
In speaking against Bachelet's proposed agenda, Matthei urged evangelicals to get involved with the election and exercise their right to vote.
"There is talk that there will be constitutional changes for Chile to become secular…there will be no reference to any religious book, like the Bible, temples will be closed and turned into museums," said Matthei, who said this has been seen in other countries. "That is not what we want. Why take God out of our country? Is that what we want? That's not what I want."
According to political analysts, Matthei will have to get more voters to the polls in December than the seven out of 13 million eligible voters that casted their ballots this month. They also project her chance at winning will have to include the support of the other seven presidential candidates who fell short in votes during the first round. However, they are leftists and the possibility of rallying behind her remains unseen, according to experts.
Bachelet, who became Chile's first woman president from 2006-2010, was expected to win the first round of elections and a runoff was not predicted to happen by many Chileans. Millions more are demanding social change and remain hopeful that she will win. However, analysts say pushing her agenda through Congress will not be an easy feat.