- BBC News World
The Senate of Chile rejected on Tuesday the constitutional accusation against the president, Sebastián Piñera, with which the opposition sought his dismissal for alleged irregularities in the sale of a controversial mining project, which were revealed in the Pandora Papers.
The 29 votes needed for the removal of the president were not reached during the debate that lasted for seven hours. The Upper House has 43 senators.
The accusatory text consisted of two parts: the first indicated that the president had violated the Constitution and the laws; and the second, of having seriously compromised the honor of the nation. In the enclosure, both were voted separately.
In the end, the first obtained 24 votes in favor, 18 against and 1 abstention, while the second had 22 in favor, 20 against and 1 abstention. Neither of them reached the required three-quarters.
Senator Manuel José Ossandón, of the center-right Renovación Nacional (RN) party, considered that the accusation against Piñera has “no probative support.”
“The accusation does not provide any antecedent to prove that the president sought to favor his family, there is no email, no mail, no chat, no statement … there is nothing, “said Ossandón in statements collected by the Senate.
On the contrary, Senator Isabel Allende, of the Socialist Party (PS) of Chile, considered that the constitutional accusations “should proceed in exceptional situations especially in the case of the first democratically elected authority in the country. ”
The rejection of the accusation came after the approval that the Low camera gave the text on November 9 with 78 votes in favor, 67 against and three abstentions. In that instance, just 78 votes were needed to go ahead with the proposal.
In October, the Prosecutor’s Office opened an ex officio investigation against the president after the publication of leaked documents known as Pandora Papers, in which alleged irregularities were exposed in the sale of shares of the controversial Dominga mining project in 2010, which took place in the British Virgin Islands, a territory considered a tax haven.
Piñera, 71, one of the richest men in Chile, defended himself against the accusations that he called “unacceptable”, and alleged that the details of the 2010 agreement were part of a previous judicial investigation that had finally found no fault with the legislation.
However, the Prosecutor’s Office clarified shortly after that it would specifically analyze the operation on Dominga, which had not been the main object of the previous investigation.
Dominga, which provides for the exploitation of iron and copper, has been generating controversy in Chile due to its proximity to the archipelago of Humboldt, a set of eight islands and islets that protect one of the richest ecosystems in the world with species such as whales, penguins and chungungos (a species of otter).
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.