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News > Chile

Chile: Interior Minister Resigns After Three Months in Office

  • Archive photograph dated July 31, 2020 showing the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera and the Minister of Interior, Víctor Pérez, at the Palacio de la Moneda in Santiago (Chile).

    Archive photograph dated July 31, 2020 showing the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera and the Minister of Interior, Víctor Pérez, at the Palacio de la Moneda in Santiago (Chile). | Photo: EFE

Published 3 November 2020

The former chief of staff, who today faced a constitutional accusation approved in the Lower Chamber, had come into office last July 28th and as part of President Piñera's bid for a "third term".

Victor Perez began his term at the Ministry of the Interior on July 28th of this year, after the departure of Gonzalo Blumel -one of the closest ministers to President Sebastián Piñera at the presidential palace- and within the framework of a profound change in the cabinet which President Piñera was betting on to initiate a "third term," granting privileges to figures from the political parties.


Chile: Lower Chamber Debates a Claim Against Interior Minister

Pérez has had a long political career: he was a lawmaker and senator for 30 years (since 1990) and a mayor appointed by the dictatorship in the Chilean city of Los Angeles (1981-1987).

A long string of political upheavals marked his short stay as Interior Minister. A strike by truck drivers, divisions in their sector due to the plebiscite, the situation of violence in La Araucanía, the fall of a young man -pushed over a bridge by a police officer- to the bed of the Mapocho River, and even tensions generated in the government by its defense over the constitutional accusation, marked the three months -98 days in total- that he spent as the second man of La Moneda. 

This rocky period concluded today after he decided to resign from office once the Chamber of Deputies approved this afternoon the libel against him by 80 votes against 74. With this, Perez had been suspended from his post, becoming the first cabinet chief to go through this situation since the return to democracy.

The Minister of the Interior, Victor Perez, resigns after a constitutional accusation against him for police abuses committed in the country was approved today in Congress. The resignation comes despite Piñera having tried to prevent it.

The libel - in which he was accused of not having applied the law in the context of the truckers' strike; violating the right to equality before the law, and not exercising hierarchical control over the Carabineros - would later be seen by the Senate, which would review its provenance. Although the Upper House scenario was uncertain if successful, Perez would be removed from his post and disqualified from holding public office for five years.

Although he can no longer be dismissed with his resignation, he does risk the second sanction, as happened, for example, in the case of the former Minister of the Interior, Andrés Chadwick.

Pérez's resignation was defined before the press point he gave from Congress after the accusation was approved, and through a dialogue with President Piñera. The now ex-Minister communicated his personal decision, which the President would have accepted, not without first trying to convince him otherwise. He told Piñera that he did not want to be an obstacle in that phone call, something he later commented publicly.

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