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News > Latin America

Chilean Senate to Decide the Fate of President Piñera Today

  • President Sebastian Piñera, Chile, 2021

    President Sebastian Piñera, Chile, 2021 | Photo: Twitter/ @Cooperativa

Published 16 November 2021 (9 hours 0 minutes ago)
Opinion

So far, Chilean democratic parties have 24 out of 29 votes needed to dismiss Piñera due to his involvement in illegal and immoral businesses caried out in Tax Havens.

On Tuesday, the Chilean Senate began the final hearing in the impeachment procedure of President Sebastian Piñera for his involvement in the Dominga mining company deal, which was denounced by the Pandora Papers.

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Majority of Chileans Support Impeachment Against Piñera

Once the Lower House approved the impeachment on Nov. 9, the Senate will analyze whether to remove Piñera and prohibit him from holding public office for 5 years. Its final decision is expected to be made at midnight.

"The violation of the integrity principle has deeply damaged many democracies and overthrew governments throughout Latin America," Christian Democratic lawmaker Gabriel Silber said.

The Chilean president's supporters believe the impeachment process is just a political maneuver aimed at weakening right-wing candidates ahead of the Nov. 28 elections. His defense attorneys maintain that Piñera did not privilege his personal interests because he sold his Dominga Mining Co. shares before he became president.

The Pandora Papers, however, demonstrated that the Dominga deal established as a condition for making the last payment to Piñera that the mining project's area not be declared an environmentally protected zone.

“It is a typical "conflict of interest" case... with acts of concealment, tax havens, and serious breaches of public integrity, in which the country's highest authority has had a clear participation, unfortunately,” lawmaker Leo Soto said.

The progressive coalition, however, holds only 24 out of 29 votes to impeach Piñera. Senate members would have to break away from party lines for the impeachment to succeed, but the probability of this is uncertain.

“This will be a day for study and reflection. We will hear people accusing and people defending the President, but we need to vote with our conscience. I will not hesitate to vote one way or the other,” said National Renovation Senator Manuel Ossandon, who is also part of the ruling coalition.

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