Wednesday, December 8

The Senate of Chile refuses to dismiss Piñera for the Pandora Papers case




With only five days left before the presidential elections and in an environment stressed by the acute competition between antagonistic political projects, the Chilean president, Sebastian Piñera, managed to escape the constitutional accusation against him. The opposition sought to remove him for the business he did in a tax haven with a coal mine during his first term and in which his children and one of his best friends were involved, but the 25 votes he had in the Senate could not reach the superquorum of 29 (two thirds of the chamber) needed to remove the ruler from La Moneda, whose term ends in March.

This is the first time in more than 30 years of democratic recovery that a Chilean president faces the threat of being dismissed before the Senate, after the Chamber of Deputies approved on November 9 an accusatory letter of almost 300 pages with 78 votes in favor and 67 against, which blamed the president for “having openly violated the Constitution and the laws” and “having seriously compromised the honor of the nation.”

In the Senate they expected that Manuel José Ossandón, from the right-wing National Renovation party of Pinera, would vote in favor of the constitutional accusation, after it was declared “in reflection.” However, in his turn he said that there was not enough evidence to dismiss him and that his was not “political revenge”, so he opted for abstention, the only one that occurred.

According to accusing deputies That yesterday presented the arguments in the Senate, which acted as a jury, Piñera carried out a “negotiation incompatible” with his position through his children, who made a sale in the Virgin islands with his best friend, the banker Carlos Délano, for almost 160 million euros.

The contract for the transfer of the Dominga mining company, located in an area of ​​high biodiversity in northern Chile, included a section that left the payment of almost 10 million euros pending on the condition that the place was not declared under environmental protection by the Government , then headed by Piñera.

The Government welcomed the rejection of the accusation in the Senate and stressed that “democracy has been strengthened.” The Minister Spokesman, Jaime Bellolio, declared that “I wish this unjust constitutional accusation and with erroneous grounds had never been presented. The process has been completed and President Piñera has been exonerated of all the accusations, which have had a clear electoral and political purpose.

On the eve of the elections

However, the deputy of the Christian Democracy Gabriel silver highlighted that Piñera managed to evade his dismissal thanks to the high quorums necessary for the impeachment, but that in both chambers majorities were configured for the dismissal. “We were also interested in setting a precedent for history, Piñera will leave his mandate with the weight of having been the first constitutionally accused president,” he said.

The Christian Democrat Senator Yasna Provoste, the only presidential candidate who participated in the vote, said that Piñera “has damaged democracy, the presidential figure like no one else, and has plunged the country into international discredit, seriously affecting the honor of the country.”

The attempt to remove Piñera took place in the last week of electoral competition, when almost fifteen million Chileans are entitled to elect a new president among seven candidates and the result of which is uncertain, despite the advantage that two of them mark. The young candidate of the leftist Frente Amplio, Gabriel Boric, leads the polls, while strong competition has arisen from the extreme right with the former deputy Jose Antonio Kast, of the debutant Republican Party.

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