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  • Chile's Senate debates constitutional claim against former Interior Minister Victor Perez, Nov. 16, 2020.

    Chile's Senate debates constitutional claim against former Interior Minister Victor Perez, Nov. 16, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @Senado_Chile

Published 16 November 2020
Opinion

Ex-Minister Victor Perez is pointed out by opposition parties for his political responsibility in the police violence against demonstrators

Chile's Senate on Monday is set to debate a constitutional claim over police brutality against former Interior Minister Victor Perez who could be suspended from public office for up to five years.

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The president of the Senate Adriana Muñoz noted that the debate will allow Perez's defense from the accusations and the interventions by each one of the senators in order to carry out the final vote.

Perez, who was in the post for about 3 months, is pointed out by opposition parties for his political responsibility in the police violence against demonstrators, which gained more strength after a young man was seriously injured when he was pushed from a bridge into the Mapocho River by a policeman in October.

If the Senate rejects the accusations, Perez could run in any of the upcoming elections, including a nomination to the Constituent Convention that will draft the new Constitution.

Perez stepped down on November 3, after the Lower House approved a constitutional claim by 80 votes to 74.  He was automatically suspended temporarily from his functions, pending the Senate's final decision.

He is being also criticized for his passivity in controlling public order during a national truckers' strike in August this year, which caused serious road blockades in several cities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for his soft response to criminal groups promoting violence in La Araucania region.

Meanwhile, President Sebastian Piñerea appointed Rodrigo Delgado from the ultra-right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party as new Interior Minister.

"If I have to apologize, I'll do it, because there are things that cannot happen and conflicts must be resolved peacefully,"  Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado said.

President Piñera began his second mandate with Andres Chadwick in charge of the Interior Ministry. Chadwick was replaced by Gonzalo Blumel in the midst of the social upheaval caused by the denunciations of repression promoted by police forces. 

Blumel, who remained in office until July, left the Cabinet after not being able to line up the entire pro-government bloc to vote against the law that allowed the early withdrawal of pension funds.

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