Thursday, May 26

The Chilean Senate prevents the removal of President Sebastián Piñera

Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile

Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile

Sebastian Piñera He will continue in the presidency of Chile until next March 11. The Senate has saved him from a vote of no confidence for having carried out a millionaire economic operation incompatible with his executive functions. The constitutional accusation had been approved by the Chamber of Deputies The last week. However, the initiative did not prosper in the Senate, where 29 votes in favor were required to remove the tycoon a few days before the first electoral round. The opposition did not reach that number. He had 24 favorable votes and needed at least five of the 19 ruling party to support the libel. Only one senator from the same Piñera party, Manuel José Ossandón, from Renovación Nacional (RN), abstained. The others shielded the president.

Before the presentations of all the legislators concluded, Piñera already knew that he had emerged unscathed from a situation that was unprecedented in the institutional history of that country South American. The candidate for president of the New Social Pact (center-left), the Christian Democrat Yasna Provoste, acknowledged that “the closed defense and oblivious to the background of the senators on the right” made it “impossible” for the motion to pass. “History will judge who, I am convinced, is the worst government in democracy in the last 70 years (…) Chile deserves more, it deserves that situations like these not be repeated, ”he said at the end of his speech.

The scandal

Piñera, who had an eventful second term, first because of the social outbreak of November 2019, and then due to the pandemic, he will hand over power to the winner of the presidential elections. The head of state, one of the great fortunes of Chile, had been left in the eye of the political storm after the revelations of the Pandora Papers. One of the thousands of leaked reports is related to an episode from his first term: in December 2010 he sold his share of Minera Dominga for $ 152 million to his partner and close close friend Carlos Alberto Délano. Part of that money was paid in the country and another 138 million in the Virgin Islands to avoid levies. The constitutional accusation was presented on October 13 by the opposition because the president had failed at the beginning of “probity” and “seriously compromising the honor of the Nation.”

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Regardless of what has happened in Congress, the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office seeks to determine if the tycoon carried out or omitted steps, in his capacity as a public official, that could affect the third clause of the sale contract signed in a tax haven.

The position of the president

Since the leaks were known, Piñera called for silence. A day before the Senate began to session, it said that the constitutional accusation was based “in false or cleverly related facts“And, furthermore, it was due to” a rarefied climate that we are experiencing in Chilean politics. ”

According to the president, a court had already issued its “total innocence” years ago for the very fact that he was being tried in Congress. “We are very confident that the Senate, acting as a jury and analyzing the facts in an objective, rational and thoughtful way, will totally reject this accusation,” he said. He knew, by then, that he would emerge unscathed in the Senate.

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