Pandora Papers: Chilean President Sebastián Piñera got away from impeachment | The opposition in the Senate did not reach the two-thirds necessary to remove him

In a predictable result, the Senate of Chile rejected the impeachment trial against President Sebastián Piñera, accused of corruption in the Pandora Papers case. The opposition, which has a majority in the Senate with 24 seats, failed to gather the 29 votes needed to put Piñera on the bench. He had the arduous task of convincing five pro-government senators to complete the dismissal of the president, something extremely difficult since a week ago in the Chamber of Deputies no parliamentarian from that sector gave his favorable vote. With this result, the process is closed without any political consequence for Piñera.

The 43 senators had 15 minutes each on Tuesday to argue their vote and the process was extended about seven hours to address the controversial sale of the Dominga mining project in a Virgin Islands tax haven, an operation revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Specific Two chapters of the constitutional accusation were voted: “having openly infringed the constitution and the laws” and “having seriously compromised the honor of the nation”. In the first, the opposition gathered 24 votes in favor and in the second, 22, far from the 29 needed to start the trial. This was the second attempted impeachment of the Chilean president, who was already indicted in 2019 for alleged human rights violations.

The minute by minute of the vote

Three deputies of the center-left opposition, promoters of the constitutional accusation that was approved in the Chamber of Deputies, presented the arguments to approve the dismissal of Piñera. “We are talking about corruption. The Piñera Morel family intended to benefit directly from the decision of the head of government, “the deputy from the Frente Amplio said in her early speech. Gael yeomans.

For the defense, the attorney for the president, Jorge Galvez, requested “reject in all its parts the accusation that lacks any factual and legal basis.” Gálvez assured that “it is a lie that the Piñera Morel family carried out the sale of Dominga.”

Already within a vote in which no surprises were expected, the senator’s position Manuel Jose Ossandón it generated some expectation. The official parliamentarian had assured hours before that he was not going to “shake his hand to decide either of the two alternatives.” However, and after his suspended vote, abstained from the accusation against the president although he devoted some criticism to it.

“We all know who he is, what his ways are, where his limits are and what he has done in his business and political life. I have always said that I do not share the ways in which he has mixed politics and business, the private and the public, because I think it has not been able to set limits, “said Ossandón, who continued to point out that” the president himself has lost his specific weight as a result of a set of decisions that, in my opinion, have been little lucky “.

Even so, Ossandón abstained arguing the existence of “many gray areas” within the constitutional prosecution. For his part, the senator of the Independent Democratic Union, Jose Durana, rejected the accusation, reproaching that the process “pretends to be an extended electoral strip of accusers who see in their coverage the possibility of continuing to campaign“.

At the other end, the presidential candidate and Christian Democratic senator, Yasna Provosteannounced his vote in favor of the impeachment of Piñera. In April 2008 Provoste was dismissed as Minister of Education with this same mechanism in a sentence that also left her disqualified from holding public office for five years. “Unfortunately for Chile, President Piñera has made his recklessness and greed, and his conflicts of interest, a pattern of conduct“, he assured.

But Provoste went further by ensuring that “History will judge, which I am convinced, is the worst government in democracy in the last 70 years”. In turn, the senator of the Socialist Party, Jose Miguel Insulza, also argued his vote in favor of the constitutional accusation by stating: “Other leaders such as that of Ecuador (by Guillermo Lasso) were also questioned. That was what motivated this accusation. Let’s not blame the deputies or senators for dealing with it now. Let’s put the blame again on the protagonist of the worst government in decades. “

The details of the accusation

Last week, the Chamber of Deputies held a marathon and historic session in which the socialist deputy Jaime Naranjo read 1,300 pages of arguments for almost 15 hours while waiting to have the necessary votes to process the accusation against Piñera, which was approved after almost 24 hours.

Piñera is accused of violating the principle of probity and the right to live in a pollution-free environment, and for having compromised the honor of the nation. According to the investigation of the Chilean media CIPER and LaBot, included in the Pandora Papers, Piñera’s children sold the mining company Dominga to businessman Carlos Alberto Delano (a close friend of the president) for 152 million dollars.

The operation, which took place during the first Piñera government (2010-2014), was mostly held in the Virgin Islands. The payment had to be made in three installments. A controversial clause made the last payment conditional on “not establishing an area of ​​environmental protection over the area of ​​operations of the mining company, as claimed by environmental groups.”

Once Piñera assumed power, this area, which encompasses a true natural treasure on the shores of the Pacific, was not considered as a protection zone recommended by his predecessor Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010). The president, one of the greatest fortunes in Chile, has maintained in public appearances to have dissociated himself from his businesses through blind trusts in 2009, and argued that what was revealed in the Pandora Papers was already investigated and dismissed in 2017.

The political trial took place during the last months of Piñera’s mandate, who will leave office in March, and just a few days before the presidential elections on November 21. This is the second attempt to remove him, after the November 2019 attempt for alleged human rights violations amid the massive protests against inequality, the most important since the end of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990).

Meanwhile, the legal case advances

In addition to the indictment that fell in Parliament, Piñera’s situation is investigated by the Chilean justice. The Valparaíso Regional Prosecutor’s Office added new information on Tuesday for the sale of the Dominga mining company that involves the president.

The Center for Journalistic Investigation (Ciper) revealed that Piñera’s family invested during his first government in eleven mining projects. This was reported by the independent Chilean media that revealed operations in the projects of Cóndor, Indiana, Philippines, Oro Atacama, Perth, Sierra Fritis, Adelaida, Quasar and Central Andes, in addition to those already known, Dominga and Imán. All this information will be incorporated into the case carried out by the Valparaíso Prosecutor’s Office.

While some of these mining explorations were unsuccessful, others remain in force. From La Moneda they deny any type of conflict of interest, according to the Bío Bío portal. This information comes less than a month after Ciper and LaBot released new data on the sale of the Dominga mining company in the Virgin Islands in 2010.

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Helen Hernandez is our best writer. Helen writes about social news and celebrity gossip. She loves watching movies since childhood. Email: Phone : +1 281-333-2229

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