Chile’s House of Representatives this Tuesday approved a political trial to impeach the country’s conservative president, Sebastian Pinera, over alleged irregularities in the sale of a controversial mining project.
After a marathon parliamentary session that lasted nearly 24 hours, the deputies decided by 78 votes to 67 against and 3 abstentions to take the constitutional impeachment to the Senate, the body that will try the president over the scandal exposed by the Bandura papers.
The opposition needed 78 seats out of 155 to accede to the accusation it filed on October 13 accusing the president of lacking the principle of “integrity” and “grave bargaining for the honor of the nation”.
Until the end of his very long speech, said the deputy responsible for presenting arguments in favor of accountability, Socialist Jaime Naranjo.
No phone votes
Naranjo gave a speech that lasted more than 15 hours to allow Rep. Giorgio Jackson, Front Left Amplio, to end his quarantine and be able to go vote.
“This was a gesture of political solidarity. It is good at all times to educate, help and support the younger generations,” said the 70-year-old veteran parliamentarian.
Jackson is booked until 00:00 local time on Tuesday for being in close contact with presidential candidate Gabriel Borek, who contracted COVID-19 last week.
Remote voting, which was in effect during the most difficult months of the pandemic, was not enabled on this occasion because the state of exception no longer governed, so Jackson’s presence in the bloody ark was essential.
The presence of Christian Democratic Representative Jorge Sabag, who was feeling some physical discomfort in the afternoon, delayed his arrival from the southern city of Chillán to the Chamber of Deputies in Valparaíso.
The strategy chosen by the opposition to delay the vote, which was heavily criticized by the ruling party, is known as parliamentary disruption and is used in various countries around the world, including the United States.
Final settlement of the campaign
The impeachment against the president will be debated in the Senate – where it requires a quorum higher than two-thirds – just a few days before Chile holds on November 21 the most dangerous and ambiguous election in its modern history that will determine with precision Pinera’s successor.
The Pandora Papers have exposed alleged wrongdoing in the sale of Minera Dominga by a company owned by Piñera’s children in the British Virgin Islands to a close friend of the presidential family, just nine months after he took office for his first term. 2014).
Piñera, one of Chile’s biggest fortunes, has defended that he distanced himself from his business through blind trust funds in 2009 and that the revelations were actually dismissed in 2017.
“With what we lived through today and the way the accusation was prepared, improvised for the purpose of putting it up a few days before the election, how can we not understand that politics is an activity that has a bad reputation,” he said. said the president’s lawyer, Jorge Galvez, who spoke for more than six hours.
The indictment, which a parliamentary committee said on Friday was inadmissible in a non-binding report, comes alongside an investigation by prosecutors into possible tax offenses and bribery in the same process.
This is the second attempt to bring Pinera to justice politically, after the failed attempt in November 2019 of alleged human rights abuses amid a social outbreak, and is the most serious protests since the end of the dictatorship.
Since the return of democracy in 1990, all presidents in Chile have finished their terms.